Last week, a significant vote occurred in the Senate to defeat the latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. As we reported at the end of June, the details of the original Senate repeal bill in fact created a potentially worse outcome for park and recreation priorities than the House repeal bill, the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628), which passed in May.
Repeal efforts in both chambers of Congress have included a full repeal of the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) which is intended to help draw down federal funds to support preventative health services in local communities. Additionally, PPHF has been critical to supplementing the budget for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If PPHF were to be repealed, CDC would face a 12 percent overall budget cut.
Park and recreation agencies nationwide are working to prevent and manage symptoms related to chronic diseases locally, such as diabetes and arthritis, but we know this work would not be possible without the support from the PPHF and the CDC.
For example, national organizations, such as NRPA, receive funding from the CDC’s Arthritis Program to implement and support programs at the local level. NRPA has been able to increase the availability and sustainable supports for arthritis-appropriate evidence-based interventions that help Americans with arthritis increase their levels of physical activity and remain active in their communities. Over 150 local park and recreation agencies across 45 states have already engaged in arthritis health promotion activities. These local agencies are present in many communities across the country and by offering these programs, positively impact the lives of people with arthritis.
NRPA applauds the Senate for protecting PPHF in the latest healthcare repeal vote. Should PPHF repeal remain a target in congressional healthcare debates, we hope to be a resource in demonstrating the invaluable work of preventative health services being offered through our agencies. We urge members of Congress to visit park and recreation programs to better understand how critical federal funding is to administering preventative health services locally.
If your agency would like to invite your member of Congress to visit and see firsthand the preventative health services you are offering to your local community, please contact NRPA’s Advocacy and Outreach Manager, Jayni Rasmussen (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Photo credit: City of Mustang (Oklahoma) Parks and Recreation’s Fit & Strong! Program supported through CDC Arthritis Program.