Public health experts angry over federal cutbacks
"This is not how you invest in a healthy America"
The Labor-Health and Human Services (HHS) appropriations bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee earlier this month falls far short of expectations, said the American Public Health Association (APHA). While the bill provides increases to some health agencies, including some programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and cross-agency efforts to address the opioid epidemic, it does so at the expense of other important public health programs.
"This is not how you invest in a healthy America,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of APHA.
The House measure would block funding for implementing the Affordable Care Act, cut CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health by more than half, continue to stifle federal research on gun violence and eliminate CDC’s climate and health program, among other harmful provisions. It would also cut funding for the Health Resources and Services Administration by $222 million and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality by nearly $54 million. The bill would also eliminate Title X family planning, which provides comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services to millions who are least able to afford it.
"We should not be limiting access to reproductive health services, especially when we face the threat of Zika," said Benjamin. "It is unsound public policy and is fiscally irresponsible."
"We urge the House to restore proposed cuts and to craft bipartisan legislation that protects the public's health."