Congress Returns, the Battle for Health Reform and Prevention Resumes
Congress is back in Washington after spending the August Recess in their home districts. Opponents of the Affordable Care Act were quick to resume their fight, pushing for a vote in the Senate to defund the law. Despite these ongoing threats to health reform and its prevention components, we want to acknowledge all the hard work we did as a prevention community during last month’s August Recess Campaign for Community Prevention.
Together, we wrote hundreds of emails to legislators in support of prevention, thanking current prevention champions and educating all of Congress on the value of prevention in our communities. In the last few weeks, we've sent over 140 emails to Congress in support of the Prevention and Public Health Fund. (If you haven’t contacted your legislators yet, you can still do so here – just be sure to pick your favorite talking point or drop in your own prevention story before hitting send.)
We also submitted many online comments, Op-eds and letters to the editor that make the case for a true health system, and reached out to reporters with our prevention stories. When we work together, we have the power to influence the media on local and national levels, and help reporters get it right when it comes to community prevention. Here are some recent examples of media advocacy successes:
- “Health: New report shows adult obesity rates hold steady but remain high,” an article in Lake County News, discusses dropping rates of adult obesity in America, and identifies the Prevention Fund and the National Prevention Strategy as two of the potential factors in this success.
- An op-ed in the Independent Record from Alicia Thompson, president-elect of the Montana Public Health Association and Melanie Reynolds, health officer for the Lewis and Clark City-County Health Department says it all with the headline: “Money spent on prevention pays off.” The piece is worth reading too!
- In “Face of A Republican,” a regular column in The Sentinel, a newspaper serving Harrisburg and Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, Theresa Meyers wrote a terrific piece making the case for investing in prevention and looked at local efforts to promote healthy eating and physical activity.
- A letter to the editor in The Missoulian from Jan Parmelee of the Montana Public Health Association explains why it’s so important that we maintain a steady drumbeat of support for prevention: “We will only make progress in improving public health and saving lives and money if our members of Congress fully fund public health programs.”
- A letter to the editor in the Lompoc Record from Donna Beal at the American Public Health Association sets the record straight about ACA’s Prevention and Public Health Fund: “The law’s Prevention and Public Health Fund represents the largest single investment in community-based prevention programs. It was also designed to ensure a stable funding stream for public health and wellness programs.”
- Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius weighed in on the importance of prevention and public health in a blog for Huffington Post. “The Prevention and Public Health Fund is supporting projects that help our health care system shift from a focus on sickness and disease to one based on wellness and prevention,” she wrote.
These are just some of the examples we’ve seen in the last month, and we’re proud to share them with you. Whether you’re new to our Health Reform Rapid Response Network, or a long-time member, we truly couldn’t have done it without you – so thank you for your dedication and commitment to improving community health and wellness through prevention.