Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) proposed an amendment to an unrelated Small Business Bill that will eliminate much of the funding for the Public Health and Prevention Fund within PPACA. The Johanns Amendment would cut $11 billion from the $15 billion Public Health and Prevention Fund to pay for a change in business-tax reporting rules. This Fund is one of the few parts of the new law that does not send billions of dollars to insurance companies. Instead, it provides resources directly to communities to create and implement public health and prevention programs that work best for them. The Johanns Amendment is scheduled for a vote TOMORROW, September 14th, so we need your voices now urging it be rejected.
It is likely that this major cut would eliminate the funding for the Community Transformation Grants -- a grant program that is an important part of the Public Health and Prevention Fund. These grants would provide money for grassroots communities to create programs tailored to address the health problems they face. State and local non-profit organizations, state and local agencies, national networks of non-profit organizations and Indian tribes may apply for these grants. The grants would help create programs to support healthy eating and nutrition, lower rates of childhood obesity, reduce tobacco use and address racial and ethnic health disparities. Communities could do these things by increasing access to nutritious foods in schools, creating community spaces like parks and gyms that would support physical activity, and developing community education programs that encourage people to seek preventive care. The Community Transformation Grants are critical because they empower grassroots communities to create solutions that work for them.
Women know the importance of prevention because we are more likely to be the caretakers within our families. We try to keep our children healthy and safe. We want to see more grassroots programs that are tailored to address the specific needs of our communities. We know the importance of shifting the focus of our health care system from treating illness to keeping our families healthy.
RWV strongly believes in the importance of such programs and we encourage you to take action against the Johanns Amendment. Here's what you can do:
Contact Your Senators: The vote is scheduled for September 14th, so be sure to weigh in with your Senators ASAP. You can find their contact information HERE.
Tell them that:
- Women know the importance of prevention and public health initiatives. Don't deprive our communities of the chance to create programs will protect and improve our health.
- Senator Johanns' amendment would unravel the main initiatives in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that are designed to shift the focus of our health system from treating illness to preventing illness.
- Community Transformation Grants are designed to engage communities in improving their own health. We need more, not fewer, of these kinds of initiatives.
The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has an analysis of Johanns amendment.
Community Catalyst has a fact sheet with more information on the Community Transformation Grants.
Thanks for raising your voices! Stay tuned to the RWV blog about more information about this topic.