Statement by John Rother, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Health Care, on planned Congressional markups of legislation to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), physician loan repayment programs, and Community Health Centers
“We are encouraged by efforts in the Senate, and most recently in the House, to fund essential health programs. Yet we are concerned by some of the proposed House offsets—particularly the significant cuts to prevention funding—that would compromise efforts to decrease costly chronic disease.
“Ensuring 9 million children have access to care, training doctors on the front lines in the fight against chronic disease, and providing health services through primary care for underserved populations are crucial to addressing our nation’s growing health costs. We are pleased that both House and Senate are moving forward with a five-year reauthorization of CHIP and that the Energy and Commerce Committee will mark up extensions for Community Health Centers, the National Health Service Corps, and the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program.
“Immediate action is needed on all of these issues, but slashing $6.35 billion from the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) to pay for these much-needed investments is not the right path forward.
“The PPHF accounts for 12% of the budget of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which provides life-saving immunizations for children and adults. Additionally, the Fund contributes to the National Diabetes Prevention Program and Fall Prevention Program—both of which provide savings to the U.S. health system by reducing costly hospitalizations and care for adults and seniors.
“The PPHF’s programs play an essential role in ensuring we have a healthy population and in alleviating chronic disease costs. We urge Chairman Upton, Ranking Member Pallone, Chairman Hatch, and Ranking Member Wyden to keep working toward a more sensible, bipartisan approach.”