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Harkin Welcomes National Prevention Strategy

Coordinated Approach to Health and Wellness Established by Harkin-authored Affordable Care Act Provision

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) joined members of the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council, including Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes, and Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, among others, to unveil the National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy. Harkin, Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, authored the provision that established the Council in the Affordable Care Act, and has fought for health and wellness measures throughout his career.

“Today the nation takes a momentous step forward in America’s transformation from a sick care system to a true health care system—one that focuses on prevention, health promotion and wellness,” said Harkin.  “I applaud the hard work and collaboration of the Surgeon General and representatives of the 17 Federal departments and agencies that comprise the National Prevention Council.  After many years of advocating for wellness and prevention, I am thrilled that public health and health promotion are at the very heart of the historic Affordable Care Act – and also at the heart of the work of so many of our federal agencies.  This coordinated approach will have a dramatic impact on the health and wellness of the American people.”

The National Prevention Strategy will help create public-private partnerships to promote wellness and prevention at the community level, by:

  • Supporting Healthy and Safe Communities:  Helping people make healthy decisions in their everyday lives. 
  • Strengthening Preventive Care:  Simple, cost-effective health care like wellness visits and cancer screenings can prevent disease and save money. 
  • Making Healthy Choices into Easy Choices:  Providing families with the tools they need to make decisions that will improve their health, including access and affordability to healthy food and physical activity. 
  • Improving Access to Quality Health Care:  By eliminating disparities in achieving and maintaining health, we can help improve quality of life for all Americans. 

Harkin, a longtime champion of prevention and wellness, successfully advocated for the inclusion of the Prevention and Public Health Fund in the Affordable Care Actas Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and has fought for increased funding for prevention and wellness programs in the Senateas Chairman of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee.