TFAH Releases Analysis on Public Health and Safety Funding Crisis

This week, the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) released an analysis detailing public health funding throughout the country, finding that spending on public health is insufficient and constitutes a crisis. The report examines funding levels at the federal, state, and local levels and provides recommendations to increase funds and improve the public’s health.

At the federal level, the analysis determines that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) budget, after adjusting for inflation, has been essentially flat for the past decade. 12 percent of the CDC’s budget consists of the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF), and between FY 2013 and FY 2027, the PPHF will receive nearly $12 billion less than what was intended by law. Additionally, core emergency preparedness funding to state and local health departments has been cut by more than one-third since the program was established in 2002.

State spending on public health has been declining throughout the country, as well. While only 19 states and the District of Columbia maintained or increased their state public health budgets between FY 2015-2016 and FY 2016-2017, 31 states made cuts to their budgets. Further, state public health spending is lower in 2-16-2017 than it was in 2008-2009, given that some of the funding cuts that occurred during the Great Recession have not been fully restored and federal funding has been essentially flat.

At the local level, LHDs have lost over 55,000 staff due to layoffs or attrition since 2008. 25 percent of LHDs in the country also reported a lower FY 2016-2017 budget than the previous year, and fewer LHDs reported an increase in the current year’s budget as compared to previous years.

Pointing to specific public health and safety risks, including the recent California floods, wildfires, and debris flows, the TFAH report provides a series of recommendations to increase public health funding, improve preparedness and response readiness, and prevent illness and injury. Some of the key recommendations include:

  • Preserving the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF)
  • Preparing for Public Health Emergencies and Pandemics
  • Establishing a Standing Public Health Emergency Response Fund
  • Building a National Resilience Strategy to Combat Deaths of Despair
  • Preventing and Reducing Chronic Disease

Additional information on the TFAH report is available here. The full report is available here.