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Press Release - 1/15/09

Contact Becky Wexler
(301) 652-1558

NACCHO Applauds Focus on Public Health in U.S. House Stimulus Package

Washington, D.C. (January 15, 2009)—
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) was encouraged to learn today that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act released by the House Appropriations Committee includes a strong prevention and wellness component. The bill, which includes $550 billion in spending and $275 billion in tax cuts, calls for a $3 billion investment aimed at fighting chronic and other preventable diseases. These funds would help support local health department disease prevention activities, from immunization programs to initiatives for reducing obesity and smoking. Federal support for effective public health programs has eroded steadily for many years. This bill would reverse that course and set the stage for an emphasis on wellness in forthcoming discussions of reform of the nation’s health system.

In addition to calling for a much-needed investment in disease prevention programs, the bill will promote the health of the public in many other ways. Each person’s health status is determined by a large number of factors. Where we live, where we go to school, and how much money we earn influence how healthy we are, as does our access to healthy food and clean water. The bill subsidizes many strategies for helping the nation’s communities to become healthier by including initiatives to remove lead paint, clean up Superfund sites, assure clean drinking water, increase job opportunities, provide housing for the homeless and food for the hungry, and improve early childhood education programs. The economic stimulus bill in its entirety is good for the public’s health.

NACCHO is the national organization representing the nation's nearly 3,000 local health departments. These agencies work every day on the front lines to protect and promote the health of their communities. NACCHO develops resources and programs and promotes national policies that support effective local public health practice.