In a letter to Congress, the ADA and more than 250 other signatories recommend that Congress grant $4.5 billion in additional annual funding for CDC, state, local, tribal and territorial core public health infrastructure to pay for essential activities.
As Congress considers the next phase of COVID-19 relief legislation, the American Dental Association (ADA) joined a coalition of 250 organizations asking Congress to include critical long-term investment in the country’s public health system as part of its legislative agenda. In a letter addressed to leading members of Congress, the signatories expressed that this legislation is needed to rebuild and strengthen the public health system before the next pandemic occurs. The ADA and its allies pointed out that this plan of action would help to avoid loss of life, and the social and economic disruption that Americans (and people worldwide) are facing today.
“The U.S. has followed a pattern of underfunding of vital public health services, followed by a crisis, a quick infusion of cash, and then dwindling investments over time. This pattern is placing American lives at risk. We must think not just of the short-term needs of this pandemic, but the long-term readiness of our nation,” writes the coalition.
According to the document, the groups recommended $4.5 billion in additional annual funding for CDC, state, local, tribal and territorial core public health infrastructure to pay for such essential activities as disease surveillance, epidemiology, laboratory capacity, all-hazards preparedness and response; policy development and support; communications; community partnership development; and organizational competencies. The signatories to the letter point out that more than 56,000 local public health jobs were eliminated between 2008 and 2017—nearly one quarter of the workforce.
“By building the core public health infrastructure of states, localities, tribal governments and territories, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the nation will be better prepared for the next threat,” the letter states.