Increasingly, we are seeing funding opportunities donning the label “Financed solely by 2014 Prevention and Public Health Funds,” and we thought an explanation might be in order.
The Affordable Care Act created a mandatory source of funding called the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) intended to provide a supplementary source of funding for prevention and public health programs aimed at improving health. These programs (e.g. childhood vaccination programs, chronic disease prevention, etc.) are normally funded by the annual appropriations process, which has severely limited the growth in funding for these programs particularly during bad economic times. By creating the PPHF, the law’s drafters hoped to provide a guaranteed source of funding to help grow programs aimed at preventing costly chronic diseases.
Of course, how the program played out was quite different. Just as the Affordable Care Act was passed, efforts at reining in spending took off. Annual appropriations bills began shrinking, so instead of supplementing ongoing funding for these programs, both Congress and the Administration began using the PPHF as a means for replacing shrinking funding.
Under scrutiny of Congressional Republicans who called the PPHF slush funds for such things as building playgrounds, the annual appropriations bills for HHS began including new reporting requirements for funds from the PPHF – including prominently identifying funding opportunities financed either in whole or part by the PPHF.
From the grantee’s perspective, there is little difference between these funds and normally appropriated funds with the exception of some additional reporting requirements required by Congress. Additional information on these and other requirements associated with the PPHF can be found here.