House GOP Votes To Repeal Preventive Health Care Fund

April 14, 2011 8:50 am ET — Meredith Kormes

Republicans have begun their latest line of attack in their campaign to destroy the Affordable Care Act. Instead of trying to repeal or defund the law in one fell swoop, they are now trying to do away with the law piece by piece. Yesterday the House passed H.R. 1217, Rep. Joe Pitts' (R-PA) bill to repeal provisions in the health care law that create the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a fund "that will help prevent disease, detect it early, and manage conditions before they become severe."

As HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius explained:

Prevention is something that can't just happen in a doctor's office.  If we are to address the big health issues of our time, from physical inactivity to poor nutrition to tobacco use, it needs to happen in local communities. ... This investment is going to build on the prevention work already under way to help make sure that we are working effectively across the federal government as well as with private groups and state and local governments to help Americans live longer, healthier lives.

The Trust for America's Health, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public health advocacy organization, noted in a letter opposing H.R. 1217 co-signed by 592 organizations that "states are already using Prevention Fund dollars to build epidemiology and laboratory capacity to track and respond to disease outbreaks, train the public health workforce, prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, reduce tobacco use, and help control the obesity epidemic."

The Center for Disease Control states that chronic diseases are "among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems in the U.S.," causing seven out of ten deaths each year. Seventy-six percent of Americans believe the level of funding for prevention should be increased and a majority of Americans want the government to fund the health care law. Yesterday's actions show that not only do House Republicans not care about preventing disease, they have no interest in following the wishes of the American people.