Sec. Sebelius: Prevention Fund Provides “Critical” Support for Women’s Health and Childhood Immunizations
WASHINGTON – Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius testified today before the Education and the Workforce Committee that the House Republican proposal to eliminate the Prevention Fund to stop the doubling of student loan interest rates would harm public health. House Democrats have instead proposed to eliminate billions in unwarranted tax subsidies to big oil.
“The Prevention Fund is a long overdue investment and [part] of the most significant effort to keep our country healthy and well,” said Sec. Sebelius. “It is a significant program to immunize our kids. [It] enhance[s] critical programs to screen uninsured women for breast and cervical cancer. Tracking and prevention birth defects are part of the Prevention Fund efforts that are making a big difference.”
Yesterday, House Republicans reversed course and finally agreed with Democrats to stop the July 1st doubling of student loan interest rates for more than 7 million college students. However, the House Republican bill would eliminate an important component of the Affordable Care Act that has already helped families, communities and health professionals identify and prevent chronic disease.
The Prevention Fund is slated to fund programs that provide cancer screenings for women, childhood immunization and birth defect screening, such as hearing loss tests for newborns. This prevention fund has also been used to support health care workforce development and public health initiatives to combat diseases like obesity, diabetes and HIV/AIDS.
“As House and Senate Democrats have demonstrated, there are many good options available on how to protect students and their families, and protect the taxpayers,” said Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the senior Democrat on the Education and the Workforce Committee. “To take health care away from middle class and low-income families in order to keep interest rates from rising for middle class and low-income college students is simply wrong. It’s robbing Peter to pay Peter.”