Bike Paths, Other ‘Healthy’ Infrastructure Projects Proving Controversial
"Attempts to set billions aside for infrastructure projects like bike paths face an uphill battle on Capitol Hill," The Chicago Tribune reports, adding "GOP legislators see no health savings in parks and similar projects," while advocates say preventive efforts will bring down costs. "A draft Senate bill would provide up to $10 billion annually for a "prevention and public health investment fund" -- a portion of which could be used for projects such as bike paths, sidewalks, farmers markets and other community interventions meant to curb chronic and costly conditions like obesity."
The Tribune says: "Trust for America's Health joined more than 300 organizations in urging lawmakers to include public health and prevention money in the bill. The group also issued a 2008 report suggesting that an investment of $10 per person per year in "proven community-based programs" -- access to fresh produce through farmers markets, for example -- could save the U.S. more than $16 billion annually within five years in lower health care costs. ... Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., a psychologist and co-chair of both the Mental Health Caucus and the GOP Doctors Caucus, stresses the importance of preventive measures ... (b)ut Murphy thinks infrastructure projects like bike trails would probably best belong in a transportation bill. The health care bill itself, he believes, must address how care can be delivered more effectively and efficiently by doctors and hospitals" (Sherry, 8/5).
Related KHN story: Will Emphasis On Prevention Bring Health Costs Down?This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.