Provide quality health care for everyone

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Why should I care?

The U.S. is home to some of the best medical care in the world. However, having the best medical care doesn’t automatically translate into having the healthiest people. In fact, in 2012, the Institute of Medicine reported that “the current generation of children and young adults in the United States could become the first generation to experience shorter life spans and fewer healthy years of life than those of their parents.”1 To live up to our nation’s health potential, there are three important system changes we must address.

More Americans need health insurance. The Affordable Care Act has brought health insurance to nearly 18 million more Americans.2 That’s amazing progress. However we still have more to do — today, more than one in 10 people remain uninsured.3

The U.S. must invest more in health and prevention. Seventy-five percent of our health care costs are related to preventable conditions like obesity, tobacco use and unsafe sex practices.4 Yet less than 3 percent of our health care spending is focused on prevention.5 Prevention investments are more than a smart use of public dollars — they also save lives. In fact, every 10 percent increase in funding for community-based health programs is estimated to reduce deaths due to preventable causes by up to 7 percent.6

Health disparities exist among numerous populations. Health inequities related to income and access to insurance exist across demographic lines, but population-based disparities are impossible to deny. For example, black women are more than twice as likely to die during pregnancy compared to white women,7 and Hispanics are 65 percent more likely to have diabetes than whites.8

What can I do?

With one vote, Congress can turn back the enormous progress we’ve made to insure millions of Americans, invest in prevention and lifelong health, and curb skyrocketing health care costs. To keep the health of America moving in the right direction, you can take action right now to:

  1. Tell Congress to support the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act and expand access to quality care at the federal, state and local levels.
  2. Tell Congress to fully fund the Prevention and Public Health Fund so that we can continue changing our health system from one that focuses on treating the sick to one that focuses on keeping people healthy. 
  3. Advocate to strengthen investments in the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We need a public health workforce and infrastructure that is strong enough to deal with our current and ever-changing health challenges.

1 APHA: The Prevention and Public Health Fund Issue Brief, June 2012

2 White House, January 2016

3 Gallup

4 APHA: Prevention and Public Health Fund

5 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. National Health Expenditure Data

6 Health Affairs, Evidence Links Increase in Public Health Spending to Declines in Preventable Deaths, August 2011

7 Families USA. African American Health Disparities Compared to Non-Hispanic Whites

8 Families USA. Latino Health Disparities Compared to Non-Hispanic Whites