Three State House events will allow us to let our Representatives know that the public supports increased revenue to maintain our system of public structures that keep our communities safe and healthy, educate our children, and draw businesses to our state.
1. As the House considers revenue proposals today, the broad Stop The Cuts Coalition will gather today (Monday 4/27) at noon in State House room B-1. The message is we need to raise new revenue to invest in our future and reduce these cuts so we can invest in our schools, infrastructure and social programs to rebuild our economy.
2. A coalition of more than 80 organizations, United We Stand for Public Health, has come together to protect public health funding in the Commonwealth. The Lobby Day is Wednesday, the 29th, 2:30 pm at the State House Nurses Hall.
The House Ways and Means budget represents an additional cut to Public Health on top of FY 2009 9C cuts made by Governor Patrick in October 2008, forcing DPH to again take the lion’s share of cuts within the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.
Our public health system is a great success, protecting the most basic necessities we all rely on: water, air and food, as well as identifying and stopping the spread of communicable diseases and infections. Public health programs prevent violence, teen pregnancy, obesity and diseases through education and regulations and provides a critical safety net to people in need of direct services such as nutrition support, Early Intervention for developmentally delayed children, family planning, and addiction treatment.
Reductions in funding for Public Health undermine the success of Health Reform because public health programs save money: for every dollar spent on public health services, the Commonwealth will save at least $4 in future costs. If enacted, the budget cuts would severely disable Massachusetts’ once-thriving public health system, undermine the very structure that supports a healthy Massachusetts, widen the racial and ethnic disparities gap, increase the cost of health reform, and put every resident of the Commonwealth at risk. These severe cuts to public health reinforce the urgent need for the legislature to pass new revenues, especially revenues dedicated to public health.
There is a critical role for public health in the debate over cost containment and achieving health equity in the Commonwealth. Health care reform has been an indisputable success in terms of expanding health coverage for Massachusetts residents. Public Health is a central component in moving forward to make health reform success sustainable.
3. One Massachusetts (responsible for the sublime graphic at the top of this post) is sponsoring a virtual rally, encouraging everyone to contact their legislators to support an adequate, balanced tax package that both addresses our structural deficit and stabilizes the public programs that we depend on.