Obama Presidency

Health Care Provisions in Stimulus are Good First Steps

| by APHA

WASHINGTON --- The American Public Health Association commends members of Congress for working together on the economic stimulus bill to produce legislation that will create jobs, allow state and local governments to continue offering critical safety-net services and provide an opportunity to work toward improving the health of all Americans.

The revised legislation includes funding for the following, all of which are supported by APHA as important opportunities to invest in both our economy and the health of our nation:

1. Prevention and Wellness Fund - These funds serve as an investment in prevention as an essential means to protect health in our nation and will help support the public health foundation that will be required for successful health system reform.

2. Safety Net Programs - The bill includes funding for Medicaid, COBRA, the Food Stamp Program and unemployment benefits. Each of these safety-net programs ensures that in these difficult times people are able to access health services and meet their other basic needs.

3. Public Health Work Force - Also included in the bill is funding to train and educate the public health professionals who are responsible for keeping us healthy. This essential funding will help lessen the impact of the current work force shortage and ensure that essential services continue across the nation.

4. Health Information Technology - These funds are directed at modernizing the health system to lower costs and provide health services more efficiently and accurately. These funds will not only help save money and create jobs, but they will also help save lives.

Along with other important components of the bill, these provisions serve as an important first step in ensuring that we have the healthy, productive work force that will be required as we move forward from these difficult times.