The Federal Public Health Infrastructure

In contrast to state and local public health agencies, the federal government has a limited role in the direct delivery of essential public health services. Nevertheless, it plays a crucial role in protecting and improving the health of the population by providing leadership in setting health goals, policies, and standards, especially through its regulatory powers. It also contributes operational and financial resources: to assure financing of health care for vulnerable populations through Medicare, Medicaid, Community and Migrant Health Centers, and IHS programs; to finance research and higher education; and to support development of the scientific and technological tools needed to improve the effectiveness of the public health infrastructure at all levels.

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