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Repeal of Preventive Health Program Shortsighted and Unhealthy

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Congresswoman Chellie Pingree says repealing a preventive health care program will result in more deaths from chronic disease and higher health care costs.

"This program invests in prevention and good health, and it reduces chronic disease," Pingree said on the floor of the House today. "Spending just $10 per person in preventive programs will save this country $16 billion a year in health care costs."

In Maine treating preventable chronic diseases cost $1.4 billion in health care costs last year, and the economic impact in lost productivity was over $5 billion.

The Prevention and Public Health Fund, which was passed as part of health care reform legislation last year, provides funding for a variety of preventive health care programs, including smoking cessation and programs to reduce obesity in children. The bill on the floor of the House today would end the program.

"It is inconceivable to me why every one of us in this Congress talks about reducing health care costs, but today we are considering ending a proven program that does just that," Pingree said.

The American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Cancer Action Network, and the American Cancer Society opposed repeal, saying "By providing a reliable new source of funding to implement effective prevention and public health programs like tobacco control, the Prevention Fund will avert future illness, save lives, and restrain the rate of growth of health care costs. Efforts to repeal the Prevention Fund … are short-sighted and should be opposed."

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