Stimulus A “Down Payment” For What States Can Do

Source: Katherine Rogers, State Health Notes, Volume 30, Issue 535, March 16, 2009

State and local health officials applauded the inclusion of significant public health spending in the stimulus bill signed by President Obama last month, which included $650 million for community prevention programs and another $500 million for bolstering the health and public health workforce. However, a new report suggests that prevention and public health programs remain in danger and suggests ways for states to create long-term funding streams.

The report, released March 9 by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), reports that in recent years, significant cuts in federal public health spending may have weakened states’ ability to prevent outbreaks, curb chronic illness and limit the growth of health spending.

The report notes that an estimated 11,000 public health jobs have already been lost, a number that may continue to grow. Another TFAH report released in December found federal funding to states for state and local preparedness has fallen 25 percent since 2005.

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