January 14, 2014
Despite media reports to the contrary, the 2014 omnibus spending bill agreed to on Monday does not cut the Prevention and Public Health Fund, the nation's largest source of dedicated prevention funding. Instead, the bill allocates the Fund's resources into specific program accounts, as always intended under the Affordable Care Act.
$1 billion has been appropriated for the Fund in 2014. Of that amount, the vast majority, $831 million, will go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additionally, $62 million will go to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), $35 million will go to other programs within the Department of Health and Human Services, and $72 million has been lost due to sequestration.
The confusion in some media reports may have resulted from language in a summary of the spending bill that says the "agreement includes a new provision that directs the transfer of all available Prevention and Public Health Funds." In fact, that transfer of funds was always intended; the Fund is managed and disbursed by the CDC and other agencies.
The bill doubles funding for state-level diabetes, heart disease and stroke prevention programs; boosts funding for the CDC's Office of Smoking and Health; and creates new Community Prevention Grants to help communities build multi-sector partnerships to improve community health. The spending bill also restores funding for the CDC's Healthy Homes program for lead poisoning prevention and increases funds for a national reporting system that tracks violent deaths.
In the area of transportation funding, the spending package boosts funding for new transit, maintains funding for Amtrak, and increases funding for the TIGER program that often includes support for pedestrian infrastructure and Complete Streets projects.
"We applaud these changes and the commitment of prevention champions in Congress to protecting this vital funding," said Larry Cohen, Prevention Institute's founder and executive director. "Since its creation in 2010, the Fund has provided critical funding to communities across the country to help them increase access to safe, walkable streets, healthy and affordable food and smoke-free air. We are delighted that this vital work will continue."