Prevention: Who needs it?

We’ve been blogging for some time about threats to the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a fund that supports many critical prevention efforts, including funding state health departments to coordinate healthcare-associated infection (HAI) prevention and enhancing laboratory capacity to detect infectious diseases threats.

As Sarah Kliff points out in the WaPo wonkblog, congressional gridlock has led to a “good news, bad news” situation with this fund. The good news is that Republicans haven’t been able to eliminate the fund entirely, as is their wont. The bad news is that funding for implementation of the Affordable Care Act is also being held up, so the fund is now being raided to pay for those activities (in 2013, nearly half of the funds will be used to set up the federal health exchanges).

To quote Rick Mayes and Thomas Oliver again on the “prevention paradox”:

“If public health measures are effective, the problems they are aimed at are often solved or never even materialize, thereby making them virtually invisible.”

If we continue to starve prevention efforts, those problems won’t remain invisible for long…


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