SOURCE: Association of Public Health Laboratories

Association of Public Health Laboratories

September 20, 2010 10:54 ET

APHL Commends U.S. Senate for Preserving New Health Reform Law: Threat to Unravel Prevention and Public Health Fund Defeated

SILVER SPRING, MD--(Marketwire - September 20, 2010) -  The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) and its members commend the 52 Members of the United States Senate who on September 14 voted against the elimination of funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which was created in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the federal health reform law. This action assures that much-needed increases in federal support for public health laboratory operations will occur in federal fiscal years 2010 - 2015; jobs will be saved, surveillance and detection of harmful outbreaks will be increased and the health of Americans will improve.

Voting on a procedural matter (Roll Call Vote #231), the Senate rejected an amendment offered by Senator Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska) that would have used the resources in the Fund as an off-set on a matter wholly unrelated to the health of Americans.

In federal fiscal year 2010, the Fund will provide an increase in resources of almost fifty percent for activities that will improve the surveillance and detection of foodborne disease outbreaks and of emerging and re-emerging infectious disease outbreaks, while advancing the completeness of electronic health records. It is likely that the Fund will supply a doubling of funding for these activities in federal fiscal year 2011.

The significance of the eight-vote margin by which the amendment was defeated is greater when the extraordinarily strong push by the business community for the amendment is considered. Even in the face of this great success, the public health community nonetheless remains vigilant for the likely continuous attempts to siphon off the Fund for other uses and all other attacks to overturn the ACA and harm the health of Americans.

"The public health community came together quickly and cohesively in the effort to protect the Prevention and Public Health Fund from this attack," said APHL Executive Director Scott Becker. "This accomplishment will be easily replicated for any future attempts to reduce or eliminate the Fund and should send a very clear message to those who seek other uses for it: 'Hands Off!'"

The Association of Public Health Laboratories is a national non-profit located in Silver Spring, MD, that is dedicated to working with members to strengthen governmental laboratories with a public health mandate. By promoting effective programs and public policy, APHL strives to provide public health laboratories with the resources and infrastructure needed to protect the health of US residents and to prevent and control disease globally.

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