Most public health programs tend to fall under the category of mandatory expenditures, as they are considered essential to protecting the health and well-being of the public. Examples of mandatory public health expenditures include:
- Vaccinations: Immunization programs are considered a mandatory public health expenditure as they are essential for preventing and controlling the spread of infectious diseases. Vaccinations are required for school entry, and many employers and healthcare facilities require employees to be vaccinated as well.
- Disease surveillance and response: Monitoring the spread of infectious diseases and responding to outbreaks is considered a mandatory public health expenditure. This includes activities such as contact tracing, lab testing, and public education campaigns.
On the other hand, discretionary public health expenditures are those that are not considered essential, but are still important to improving overall health outcomes. Examples of discretionary public health expenditures include:
- Health education and promotion: While health education and promotion are important for improving health outcomes, they are not considered mandatory as they are not directly tied to preventing or controlling the spread of infectious diseases. Examples of discretionary health education and promotion programs include smoking cessation programs, nutrition education programs, and physical activity campaigns.
- Research and development: While research and development are critical for advancing public health knowledge, they are not considered mandatory as they do not provide direct services to the public. Research and development programs may include studies on disease prevention, treatment, and vaccine development.
Overall, the distinction between mandatory and discretionary public health expenditures is based on the perceived importance and necessity of the program for protecting and improving the health of the public.