Strengthen the public health infrastructure

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Why should I care?

The U.S. might spend the most on health care, but we have to ask ourselves: What kind of value are we getting for our dollar? Our per capita health care spending is nearly twice the average spent by other industrialized nations yet we rank 34th in terms of life expectancy.1 Also striking is that while 75 percent of our health care costs are related to preventable conditions, only 3 percent of our health care spending is focused on prevention and public health. 2 3

We can’t drive the change to create the healthiest nation unless we strengthen public health infrastructure and capacity. Strong and consistent funding levels are necessary for our public health system to respond to everyday health needs, confront unexpected health emergencies and prepare for the future

What can I do to help support our public health infrastructure? 

Tell Congress to support the Prevention and Public Health Fund! The fund will invest $16.5 billion over 10 years[1] in effective, proven prevention efforts, such as childhood obesity prevention and tobacco cessation. The fund is being used to support community and clinical prevention efforts, strengthen state and local health departments and the public health workforce, and support science and research. 

It’s critical that members of Congress hear from advocates and constituents about the Prevention and Public Health Fund’s positive impacts and its importance to sustaining the progress we’ve made so far. Send them your message!

Advocate for funding public health agencies. We need more Americans to speak out in support of higher budgets for key public health agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is a major source of funding for state and local programs, and the Health Resources and Services Administration, which strengthens the health workforce and ensures high-quality health services. 

Tell Congress to support the Affordable Care Act! Continued implementation of the ACA is critical to achieving the full potential of the law and shifting to a health system that focuses on keeping people healthy.  


1 America’s Health Rankings® Annual Report, 2015. United Health Foundation and the American Public Health Association

2 National Health Expenditure Data. Baltimore, MD: U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, December 2014.

3 For the Public’s Health: Investing in a Healthier Future. Washington, D.C.: Institute of Medicine, April 2012.

[1] “Does not account for future cuts from budget sequestration.”