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Nine High-Impact Actions Congress Can Take to Protect and Promote the Nation's Health

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Publication Date: January 2000

Publisher(s): Partnership for Prevention; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Author(s): Partnership for Prevention

Topic: Health (Health care planning)

Type: Report


In 1998, the Congressional Prevention Coalition asked Partnership for Prevention which policies have the greatest potential to prevent the most disease and injury. The Partnership undertook an effort to answer this question that resulted in a list of nine policies which, if enacted, would prevent a minimum of 160,000 premature deaths (about 7 percent of all deaths in the United States) each year. The policies were considered to be of equal importance and were not ranked. They are:(1) increase the federal excise tax on tobacco.(2) confirm the authority of the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco, including advertising.(3) ban smoking in enclosed workplaces and public places nationwide.(4) provide incentives to states to establish uniform drinking-and-driving laws that (a) set the legal blood alcohol content to 0.08 for adult drivers; (b) establish a strict minimum of one year license revocation for people who fail or refuse to take a breath test; (c) provide federal funds to states to enforce drinking-and-driving laws.(5) increase the federal excise tax on alcoholic beverages.(6) enact a national handgun licensing and registration system operated by the states.(7) create financial incentives for communities to develop fluoridated water systems and create programs to increase the use of fluoride rinses and/or dental sealants among children.(8) create financial incentives for states to offer daily physical education classes in secondary schools.(9) require that federal entitlement programs provide insurance coverage for clinical preventive services recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, with ceilings on copays and deductibles.