Prevention in Health Reform

Insights from experts at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America's Health.

    • March 29, 2010

With health reform legislation signed into law, James Marks, M.D., M.P.H., senior vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Jeffrey Levi, Ph.D., executive director of the Trust for America’s Health, answer questions about the wellness and prevention provisions in the new law.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act expands health insurance coverage to millions of Americans and establishes a national prevention strategy and a Public Health Investment Fund that create a reliable funding stream for public health. This fund will support key public health functions and community-prevention initiatives, as well as investment in the public health workforce, says Marks.

Adds Levi: “This law includes the ingredients needed to ensure we get the returns that prevention offers, including a focused national prevention strategy, a reliable public health funding stream, and evidence-based programs that will be held accountable for improving health outcomes.”

Additional public health provisions in the law include:

  • A Prevention and Public Health Council chaired by the Surgeon General that will coordinate federal departments and agencies and create and implement the National Strategy for Public Health.
  • "Community Transformation" grants that will leverage existing evidence-based disease prevention programs, such as those that promote healthier eating and increased physical activity, and establish new programs in areas that currently do not receive funding.