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Pennsylvania Secretary of Health says health departments could lose $112 million in funding if ACA is repealed

Repeal could mean Prevention and Public Health Fund goes away, putting children and seniors at risk

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

The Philadelphia skyline.The Philadelphia skyline.

Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Karen Murphy is urging the commonwealth's U.S. Congressional delegation to consider the effect that repeal of the Affordable Care Act could have on at-risk Pennsylvanians.

Information from the Trust for America's Health suggests that health departments at the state and local level stand to lose almost $112 million over the next five years if the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a part of the ACA, is tossed out. That, said Murphy, would impact children and seniors especially.

"The loss of this funding in the coming years arrives at a time when major health threats, like infectious diseases and the opioid epidemic, are on the rise," she said in a statement.

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[Also: ACA repeal threatens benefits for coal miners being treated for black lung]

According to the Trust, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could lose 12 percent of its annual budget if the PPHF is repealed. This, the group said, would result in diminished support for public health efforts in every state, with more people becoming sick, and healthcare costs increasing.

Pennsylvania has received more than $83 million through the PPHF since its creation in 2010. The PPHF is the first federal funding source dedicated to public health and prevention.

The investments supported by the PPHF in Pennsylvania include monitoring of opioid prescriptions, vaccines for children and adults, and breast and cervical cancer screenings for eligible, underserved women. It also supported chronic disease prevention, particularly diabetes, heart disease and obesity, and epidemiology and laboratory capacity grants to address influenza and foodborne illnesses, among other disease outbreaks.

Twitter: @JELagasse