Public Health Funding
U.S. Value: $116
Healthiest State: Alaska: $449
Least-healthy States: Nevada, Wisconsin: $72
Definition: State dollars dedicated to public health and federal dollars directed to states per person by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Health Resources & Services Administration (2-year estimate)
Data Source & Year(s): CDC, HRSA and Trust for America's Health, 2019-2020
Suggested Citation: America's Health Rankings analysis of CDC, HRSA and Trust for America's Health, United Health Foundation, AmericasHealthRankings.org, accessed 2022.
WHY DOES THIS MATTER?
Public health systems are important to keeping Americans safe and healthy through prevention, preparedness and surveillance programs and serve as the first line of defense against disease epidemics. The public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic was weakened by chronic underfunding of these systems at the state and national levels. Increased spending on public health programs is associated with a decrease in mortality from preventable causes such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer.
Public health program spending represents just around 10% of all health care spending in most countries, yet its impact can be substantial. An investment of $10 per person per year in evidence-based community health programs could save the country more than $16 billion annually. That is a potential savings of $5.60 for every $1 invested.
WHO IS AFFECTED?
Populations that are most affected by public health funding include:
- Children and infants, whose coverage for childhood immunizations and developmental screenings have been crucial in protecting infants and children from potentially life-threatening preventable diseases early in life when they are most vulnerable.
- Low-resource communities: People living in these communities experience the largest health and economic benefits from increased local public health spending.
- Medicare enrollees: A 2017 study found a 10% increase in local public health spending per capita was associated with a 0.8% reduction in adjusted Medicare expenditures per person after one year and a 1.1% reduction after five years.
https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/annual/measure/PH_funding/state/ALL Last accessed 06/14/2022