Send a message to Congress to protect public health
Organizations speak out against negative health provisions in tax reform proposals
APHA joined other leading health organizations in sending letters to House and Senate leaders urging them to reject the inclusion of damaging provisions that would threaten public health. The groups highlighted the inclusion of a provision to repeal the individual health insurance mandate that was included in the Senate tax reform proposal. According to an analysis of the provision by the Congressional Budget Office, repealing the individual mandate would result in 13 additional uninsured Americans by 2015 and a 10 percent increase in premiums in the individual market in most years over the next decade. In addition, According to CBO, both the House and Senate proposals as currently drafted would also trigger automatic cuts to several mandatory programs. In particular, unless Congress votes to wave current budget rules, because the proposals would add roughly $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next decade, they would require automatic spending cuts to various mandatory programs that would likely wipe out all of the funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund. APHA also joined with the American Association for the Advancement of Science and other leading organizations in sending a letter to Senate leaders opposing provisions in the House passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) that will increase the financial burden for graduate students by repealing existing provisions in tax law. The House passed its version of the bill by a vote of 227-205 on Nov. 16 and the Senate is expected to try to wrap up consideration of its tax bill later today. If the Senate passes its bill, House and Senate leaders must then try to reconcile the differences between the two bills before bringing a final proposal back to each chamber for a vote.
APHA and Affiliate members are encouraged to contact their members of Congress urging them to oppose tax reform proposals that threaten public health.
Health groups urge Congress to pass commonsense legislation to address gun violence
APHA joined with other leading public health and medical organizations in sending a letter to the House and Senate urging Congress to work to pass commonsense legislation to reduce gun violence. The letters, which come in the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed at least 59 people and injured more than 500 and the recent shooting in a Texas church where 26 people, including children, were fatally shot, urged Congress to strengthen federal background checks for gun purchases and to fund federal research and public health surveillance on firearm-related injuries and fatalities. Currently little federal research in conducted in this area, and efforts to increase funding for gun violence research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been blocked. In addition, several loopholes in the federal background check system remain, including for guns sold on the internet or at gun shows.
APHA and Affiliate members can send messages to their representatives and senators in support of these and other commonsense measure to reduce gun violence.
Health groups call for adequate funding for immunization programs
APHA joined other members of the 317 Coalition in sending a letter to House and Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee members urging them to fund the national immunization program authorized under Section 317 of the Public Health Service Act at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at $606.9 million, the level included in the Senate bill. Childhood immunizations over the past 23 years have prevented 381 million illnesses, 855,000 early deaths, and saved $1.65 trillion in total society costs. The Section 317 program also serves as the backbone of our nation’s public health infrastructure: supporting the science that informs our national immunization policy; providing a safety net to uninsured, poor adults for vaccine purchases; monitoring the safety of vaccines; educating providers and performing community outreach; and conducting surveillance, laboratory testing, and epidemiology to respond to disease outbreaks.
Advocates can contact their members of Congress in support of adequate funding for public health programs.
EPA begins comment period for proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan
On Oct. 10, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it plans to repeal the Clean Power Plan, which was adopted in 2015 to substantially reduced carbon pollution and other emissions from power plants. The plan was expected to reduce carbon emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. APHA and other leading health and medical organizations are strong supporters of the plan and have spoken out against the proposal to repeal the plan and the many attempts by Congress to delay or block the rule in the past. In an updated analysis of the Clean Power Plan, EPA estimates that the plan could prevent up to 4,500 premature deaths each year by 2030. EPA will accept public comments until Jan. 26 on the proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan.
Advocates can visit APHA’s take action page to send comments to EPA opposing the proposal.
Additional APHA advocacy news
Given the rapid pace of action in Washington, D.C., we wanted to highlight additional issues we have weighed in on recently. Those include:
- New American Public Health Association policy statements address physical activity, universal preschool, workers’ compensation and more (Nov. 7)
- APHA opposes repeal of individual mandate, planned elimination of billions in public health spending in tax legislation (Nov. 15)
- Organization comments to CMS regarding proposed changes to the Essential Health Benefits standard by the Department of Health and Human Services (Nov. 27)
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