By Melina Druga
More than 80 local, state, and territorial health officials met Wednesday with Congress members with the goal of advocating for public health funding.
The officials told Congress members that investing in public health agencies is critical to protect and promote health. Federal investment in public health has not matched the rate of inflation, the officials said, nor has it matched the health challenges affecting the United States.
Challenges include the opioid epidemic, improving immunization rates, infectious disease outbreaks, the need for more resources and employees at the local level, public health emergencies and extreme weather events.
The officials also are urging Congress to increase funding for the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) by 22 percent by fiscal year 2022.
Annually, $3.5 trillion is spent on health care, according to the Trust for America’s Health, but 3 percent is directed to public health.
The health officials included representatives from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the Big Cities Health Coalition, the National Association of Local Boards of Health, and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO).
NACCHO’s board of directors also met with CDC Director Robert Redfield and Robert Kadlec, assistant secretary for preparedness and response.