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Prevention Funds in Stimulus Are Good for the Economy

Contact Becky Wexler
(301) 652-1558

Prevention Funds in Stimulus Are Good for the Economy
Washington, DC (February 18, 2009)
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) commends the U.S. Congress and the Obama Administration for including $1 billion for prevention and wellness in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009. These funds will benefit the public’s health by adding or restoring public health jobs and ensuring the operation of prevention programs that keep healthcare costs in check.

“The decision to include an investment in prevention in the stimulus strategy sets the stage for further emphasis on public health as the health reform debate continues,” said Robert M. Pestronk, executive director of NACCHO. “By protecting jobs in local health departments, which have already lost 7,000 public health workers, this investment is also an innovative way to stimulate local economies, where health department employees spend their salaries and keep communities healthy. Moreover, it will shore up the healthcare safety net, because more unemployed workers and their families turn to local health departments for health services when unemployment rates soar.”

“In addition to enabling a much-needed investment in local and state health departments, the bill will prevent costly disease and disability in many other ways,” added Pestronk. “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 assure clean drinking water, increase job opportunities, provide housing for the homeless and food for the hungry, and improve  education. The economic stimulus bill in its entirety is good for the public’s health and good for the economy, because a healthy workforce is essential to a healthy economy.

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.