Wednesday, April 9, 2008

PPF Pearls: Federal health funds not a shot-in-the-arm for Wisconsin

A report released this week confirms yet again that our state receives far fewer federal dollars than the average state.

This time the Trust for America's Health analyzed funds from three federal health agencies and found Wisconsin ranks 45th in terms of per capita spending by the Center for Disease Control, 48th in spending by the Health Resources and Services Administration, and 31st in spending by the Hospital Preparedness Program.

While most of these federal funds are distributed on a formula basis, according to each state's population, some are competitive grants. As the Forum's past research has shown, these grants are a very important piece of the federal funding pie; compared to formula funding, local policymakers have much more control over their ability to attract competitive funds.

In the area of public health, one reason Wisconsin may not be competitive for these grants is because of the low priority our state places on public health spending. The same report finds Wisconsin spends just $9.16 per person annually on public health, ranking us 50th out of the 50 states and D.C. The national median for annual state public health spending: $33.26 per capita.

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