Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Former CA Insurance Commissioner Rep. Garamendi Votes Against GOP Plan to End Live-Saving Disease Prevention Program

April 13, 2011
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA), California's former Insurance Commissioner for eight years, today voted against H.R. 1217, a House Republican plan that would abolish the Prevention and Public Health Fund and deny preventative health care to thousands of Americans.

“Constraining preventative health care is a boon to emergency room vending machine stockers and flower merchants but a tragedy for every American who values public health, productivity, and deficit reduction,” said Congressman Garamendi. “Preventative medicine is cost-effective medicine and saves lives.”

Nearly 600 Groups Are Opposed to Repealing the Fund, including the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and Cancer Action Network American Cancer Society. If we invested $10 per person in preventative medicine and good lifestyle choices, we would save the nation $16 billion a year within five years.

In FY 2010, $500 million of the Prevention and Public Health Fund, including $42.7 million for California, were distributed for things like community-based prevention programs, blood pressure screenings, childhood vaccinations, obesity prevention, tobacco prevention, strengthening employer participation in wellness programs, and strengthening the public health workforce and infrastructure. It is anticipated that $750 million of the Fund will be distributed in FY 2011.

Chronic diseases – such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes – are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths among Americans each year and account for 75% of the nation's health spending. The burden of chronic disease presents a significant public health challenge to California:

• Over 16.3 million cases of seven common chronic diseases — cancers, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, mental disorders, and pulmonary conditions — were reported in California in 2003.
• The cost of treating those with chronic disease in California totaled about $26.9 billion.
• Chronic diseases resulted in $106.2 billion in lost productivity and economic costs to California.