Washington, DC, July 5, 2022 — The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), the voice of the country’s nearly 3,000 local health departments, released the following statement in support of key provisions included in the House of Representatives’ fiscal year 2023 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (L-HHS) funding bill, which passed the Appropriations Committee on Thursday.
“COVID-19 has brought to the fore the critical role of public health, especially local health departments, in all aspects of daily life. But it has also exposed the consequences of years of underinvestment in our public health system. Congress has the opportunity now to rebuild the public health system to face current and future challenges,” said Lori Tremmel Freeman, Chief Executive Officer of NACCHO.
“The House L-HHS bill makes important investments that would enable local health departments to support our national public health priorities and effectively lead in their communities. This includes strong, overall funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as specific investments in public health Infrastructure and data modernization, which, if realized at the local level, could be a gamechanger for the health and safety of communities.
“NACCHO is particularly grateful for the Committee’s inclusion of $25 million to establish the Public Health Loan Repayment Program, a key priority of NACCHO’s 2022 Legislative Agenda. The public health workforce is the backbone of our nation’s governmental public health system but was understaffed and overworked even before the pandemic. A loan repayment program for public health professionals who agree to serve three years in a local, state, or tribal health department would provide health departments with a vital tool in recruiting and retaining top talent. We are so grateful to see the Appropriations Committee take this important step to make the program a reality.
“NACCHO also appreciates the Committee recognizing the important role local health departments play in their communities and including report language to ensure federal dollars make it to the local health department level efficiently and equitably. It is critical that we have a strong public health system at the local, state, and federal level, and the Committee’s acknowledgment is critical to help inform federal investment priorities.
“NACCHO urges lawmakers in the House and the Senate to continue to work together toward passing federal funding bills into law before the start of fiscal year 2023 so that these important investments can be realized and put to work in communities across the country.”
The House Labor-HHS spending bill allocates a total of $124 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a 14 percent increase over last year’s funding. The increased funding allows for important investments in programs that provide crucial support for local health departments, including:
- $25 million for the Public Health Loan Repayment Program, which was not funded last year
- $750 million for Public Health Infrastructure and Capacity at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a $550 million increase
- $735 million for the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreement, a $20 million increase
- $10.5 billion for CDC, a $2 billion increase
- $250 million for Data Modernization Initiative at CDC, a $150 million increase
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) represents the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments. These city, county, metropolitan, district, and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and well-being for all people in their communities. For more information about NACCHO, please visit www.naccho.org.