Through the collective efforts of advocates of many different stripes across the country, we staved off an attempt yesterday to gut the new Prevention and Public Health Fund, a critical part of national health reform.

An amendment from U.S. Senator Mike Johanns, a Nebraska Republican, was defeated 46-52 in a procedural vote on the Senate floor. That amendment to the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act would have used the bulk of the $15 billion Prevention Fund to pay for a change in business tax-reporting rules.

As a result, the Prevention Fund will be available to support national, state and local programs to make Americans healthier, reduce racial and ethnic health disparities, and to help control soaring health costs in the long run. President Obama has already allocated $500 million from the fund and another $750 million is slated to be spent in the 2011 fiscal year. The Community Transformation Grants, designed to help local communities address the social and economic causes of poor health, are one of the innovative programs slated to be supported through the Prevention Fund.

We thank the hundreds of national and state organizations that raised their voices in support of the Prevention Fund. We will likely need to remain vigilant to protect the fund from future attempts to grab it for other purposes. But for now, we can celebrate.

— Alice Dembner, Policy Manager