Five Things to Know About the Prevention and Public Health Fund

June 29, 2017|1:48 p.m.| Michael Fraser

The Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) is a critical source of funding for programs authorized under the Public Health Services Act for prevention, wellness, and public health activities. ASTHO continues to partner with the public health community to warn Congress of the dire consequences of repealing PPHF without a corresponding increase in the allocation for the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriation bills. Below, ASTHO’s Executive Director Michael Fraser shares the top five things you need to know about PPHF.

  1. The Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) was authorized through the Affordable Care Act. The original goal of the PPHF was to provide mandatory federal funding for public health and prevention programs that would work “upstream” to improve health and prevent disease. PPHF started with an initial investment of $500 million in FY10 and was originally slated to grow to $2 billion by FY15. Unfortunately, since its inception, Congress used PPHF to “pay for” other priorities. As a result, PPHF will grow to $1.25 billion in FY18 and FY19, $1.5 billion in FY20 and FY21, and $2 billion in FY22 and each fiscal year thereafter.
  2. For many reasons, including both political and fiscal, core public health programs were moved from CDC’s direct budget authority into the mandatory PPHF. The programs are now in jeopardy of losing funding with ACA repeal and replace efforts in Congress. Both the House and Senate versions of ACA repeal include elimination of the PPHF. The House proposes the elimination in FY19, whereas the Senate proposes elimination in FY18.
  3. Programs now funded by PPHF are non-partisan, several decade old programs – such as the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant, childhood immunization programs, and the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity program. These programs are core to state and territorial health agency capacity and are essential to the work of public health agencies nationwide.
  4. States and territorial health agencies will face significant funding reductions if the PPHF is eliminated and not replaced in new legislation. Core public health programs, including the Prevent Block Grant, would be eliminated. Therefore, if the Senate bill is adopted into law Congress will have to find almost $1 billion through the annual appropriations process to fund current programs in FY18. This will be extremely difficult because sequestration returns this year and under current law non-defense discretionary programs will be reduced by $3 billion.
  5. The time is now to reach out to policymakers and state leaders to talk about the impact of cuts to public health that would result from the elimination of the PPHF. ASTHO is here to help – contact our government affairs team at any time to learn more!