Bipartisan Leaders Call for $4.5B for Public Health Infrastructure

The COVID-19 crisis has drawn national attention to our long-ignored underinvestment in public health infrastructure. Experts understand that in order for the country to effectively respond to health crisis every person must be served by certain foundational public health capabilities. Alas, the amount we currently spend on public health, as a nation, is not enough to extend this protection to every community. In 2018, the Public Health Leadership Forum at RESOLVE issued a report calling for $4.5 billion in mandatory annual federal funding to correct this underinvestment.

As coronavirus upsets the national economy and Congress responds with emergency measures and funding, the value of public health readiness – both in terms of safety and dollars – only becomes clearer. And public health and bipartisan policy leaders continue to lead the call. Last week, former Senate majority leaders Tom Daschle (Democrat) and Dr. Bill Frist (Republican) and former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach released a Roll Call op-ed citing the Public Health Infrastructure Fund, saying:

“With consistent funding, state and local elected officials will know that they can build their capacity without the rug being pulled out from under them the next year as Congress moves on to another crisis.  And they — and the American people — will be healthier and better prepared for future public health challenges.”


The New York Times also elevated the need for sustained public health investment last week. Citing public health leaders, the article rightly states that while the $8.3 billion Congress recently issued for coronavirus response will certainly help in this crisis, it fails to address the underlying problem  state and local health departments’ chronically limited core budgets.

It is time to break this cycle. As outlined by the Public Health Leadership Forum, additional annual investment is needed – in times of crises and everyday to protect national security and “create the conditions in which people can be as healthy as possible.”

Mason Hines
March 17, 2020




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