30 Sep BPC Action Supports the Public Health Infrastructure Saves Lives Act in Health
BPC Action strongly supports the Public Health Infrastructure Saves Lives Act (S.4740) and urges members to cosponsor and pass this critical legislation to create a core public health infrastructure program that will strengthen the country’s public health system, including our ability to respond to COVID–19.
The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn stark attention to the weaknesses in America’s public health systems. A strong public health system can quickly alert us to new problems, build resilient communities that are healthy and socially connected, and create a reserve capacity to respond to an emergency of any kind. Unfortunately, we have not consistently provided the type of funding needed to build a strong public health system. In fact, since the Great Recession, frontline state and local health departments have lost more than 56,000 positions due to funding cuts.
It has been estimated that we need an additional $4.5 billion a year to close the gap between what we currently spend on public health and what we would need to ensure that all communities across our nation are served by a strong public health system able to invest in core capabilities including public health assessment, preparedness and response, policy development and support, communications, community partnership development, organizational competencies, accountability, and equity.
A Public Health Infrastructure Fund would build on the emergency funding that Congress has already appropriated and ensure that public health agencies have the resources and tools they need to manage this crisis today, helping us to reopen our economies and return to normal, while also providing the strong, predictable investments needed over the long term to ensure that they are fully staffed and resourced for the future, enabling them to respond quickly to new threats and avoid the loss of life and social and economic disruption we are facing today.
The Public Health Infrastructure Saves Lives Act would provide state and local elected officials with the certainty to know that they can build their capacity without the rug being pulled out from under them after a crisis. And they — and the American people — will be healthier and better prepared for future public health challenges. BPC Action supports the passage of this critical legislation.