According to Government’s responsibility for public health (n.d), the role of our government on public health is referenced in the constitution in a clause about the general welfare. As we all know, “public health promotes the welfare of the entire population, ensures its security and protects it from the spread of infectious disease and environmental hazards, and helps to ensure access to safe and quality care to benefit the population” (Government’s responsibility for public health (n.d). For that reason, the government needs to support public health with its role by providing protection, promotion of health and ensuring the safety of the population (Government’s responsibility for public health (n.d).
According to The governmental public health infrastructure, “the federal government acts in six main areas related to population health: (1) policy making, (2) financing, (3) public health protection, (4) collecting and disseminating information about U.S. health and health care delivery systems, (5) capacity building for population health, and (6) direct management of services” (2002). The federal government leads state governments to carry responsibilities like maintaining infrastructure in public health, health promotion and disease prevention, making sure the community is protected from environmental hazards, making sure the state is prepared, that there is a proper response to emergencies and guaranteeing health services to the population (Government’s responsibility for public health. (n.d.).
The federal government plays a number of different roles in the American health care arena, including regulator; purchaser of care; provider of health care services; and sponsor of applied research, demonstrations, and education and training programs for health care professionals. The government is involved in public health both directly and indirectly through legislation, advocacy, and other programs. The level of involvement in the public health arena varies by level of government; there are local, county, state and federal public health agencies that have different responsibilities and levels of involvement. These various governmental public health agencies might have various levels of responsibility, but their main aim is public health. They supply their services in the interest of the public and not to make a profit as these agencies are funded by taxes and other government appropriations.
One example of a federal public health agency is the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an example of a state public health agency could be a state’s Department of Health and Human Services (or a similarly named agency) and an example at the county or local level could be the City or County Public Health Department (or a similarly name agency). In the recent pandemic these various public health agencies have partnered with local public health resources to implement COVID-19 guidelines that have affected us all.
One example of these programs was former First Lady Michelle Obama’s work with child obesity during her time in the White House. She worked to address the national issue of child obesity. She worked to get the school lunch changed to healthier foods and encouraged children to exercise for at least 60 minutes a day. She used resources outside of politics like the National Football League’s (NFL) “Play 60” campaign in which NFL players encouraged kids to play every day for 60 minutes, or her partnership with Beyoncé to get kids dancing as physical activity.