Everyone who has been watching the news and has probably heard about efforts to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as Obamacare. When the ACA was established, the funding for several pre-existing, long-established, and important, life-saving public health programs including immunizations and infectious disease prevention and control, was wrapped into the ACA and repacked as the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF).

Let’s be clear – these funds existed before Obamacare (some date back more than three decades to the Reagan Administration) and they should exist after Obamacare.

Our team at ADHS has been watching the events closely and has been coordinating with the Governor’s office since November to make sure the importance of continued public health funding is communicated to our congressional delegation.

Luckily for Arizona’s public health system, Governor Doug Ducey and his team have been strongly engaged in federal level discussions on this issue. The Governor feels strongly that the ACA must be repealed and replaced, but that it must be done in a thoughtful, careful manner to prevent the carpet from being pulled out from under anyone. Arizona was one of the only states to include the potential danger to pre-existing public health funding in the Governor’s response to U.S. House Majority Leader McCarthy’s request to the states for input into the repeal and replace process.

In a brief summary, here is what the PPHF funds in Arizona:

  • Immunizations for children
  • Activities for infectious disease prevention and control
  • Public health laboratory services at our state lab to detect dangerous infectious diseases
  • Childhood lead poisoning prevention
  • Activities for prevention of chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease
  • Breast cancer prevention
  • Arizona Smokers Helpline

The ACA also included important program funding items that are not incorporated into the PPHF:

  • Home visiting programs that provide services to at risk families with young children
  • Abstinence and teen pregnancy prevention

Repeal without replacement of the Affordable Care Act will also be repealing funds that pre-existed the ACA, which supply Arizona with approximately $9.3 million a year. ADHS will continue to work with our Governor’s Office and public health and federal partners to ensure everyone understands the importance of maintaining these programs that allow us to keep working towards health and wellness for all Arizonans.