Letters to the Editor

Public-health funds at risk

According to a recent report, the United States spends far more on health care than any other high-income country, yet our lives are shorter and less healthy. We must prevent people from becoming sick in the first place.

The Prevention and Public Health Fund, a key part of the Affordable Care Act, does just that.

The fund — our nation’s largest single investment in prevention — has provided more than $6 billion since 2010 to support public health activities in every state.

This includes initiatives that detect and respond to infectious diseases, prevent lead poisoning, fight obesity and curb tobacco use.

In Kentucky, we have received more than $23 million. The funding has provided needed support for breast and cervical cancer screenings, tobacco cessation, diabetes and obesity reduction programs, and suicide prevention initiatives.

All of this is at risk. Congress has taken the first steps to repeal the ACA, and with it the fund, which would result in a major loss of funding for core public-health programs.

The fund makes up more than 12 percent of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual budget and is integral to states keeping communities healthy and safe.

Marc Aaron Guest