Congress must not eliminate Prevention and Public Health Fund

Statement of the American Lung Association

Washington, D.C. (April 27, 2012)

Some in Congress are trying to force the nation to choose between health and education. The House of Representatives is poised to vote on a measure to eliminate the lifesaving Prevention and Public Health Fund to pay for keeping student loan rates down. The American Lung Association fiercely opposes any attempts to divert or cut the Prevention Fund. The Affordable Care Act established the Prevention Fund to promote wellness, to prevent disease, and to protect against public health emergencies.

America should not have to choose between protecting the health of its citizens and making higher education more affordable.  Congress must reject this ill-conceived approach. The student loan interest rate issue can and must be resolved without undermining the health of millions of Americans.

The Prevention Fund is already helping Americans across the country to make healthier choices and to take responsibility for their own health and the health of their families. Because of the Prevention Fund, states and communities are now able to help more people quit smoking through cessation programs and improve lung health by preventing and treating lung diseases, including COPD, lung cancer, and asthma. It is also allowing states and communities to monitor outbreaks of infectious diseases, such as influenza, and enhance prevention services in low-income and underserved communities.

Quitting smoking is the single most important thing a smoker can do to improve their health status. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Tips from Former Smokers media campaign, which was underwritten by the Prevention Fund, has already resulted in tens of thousands of additional calls to 1-800-QUIT NOW by smokers seeking help with quitting. This is tangible evidence of the Prevention Fund having a positive impact.

Prevention programs work. Prevention save lives and helps keep people healthy. Congress must not play politics with our nation’s health. The American Lung Association strongly urges Congress to reject this absurd choice.

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About the American Lung Association
Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is “Fighting for Air” through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lung.org.