Trust for America's Health's Reaction to Budget: Expresses Concern Over CDC Cuts, Praises Prevention Fund

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Trust for America's Health (TFAH) applauds the President's budget for an overall increase in disease prevention funding, reflecting the new funds provided by the Prevention Fund from the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but expresses extreme concerns over the cuts to funding for core programs at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and for emergency preparedness.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100204/TFAHLOGO)

"The Prevention Fund is an historic new investment to improve the health of Americans and its value should not be under-recognized," said Jeff Levi, Ph.D., Executive Director of TFAH.  "But this investment is coming at the same time as significant cuts are being proposed to core disease prevention programs and significant cuts to programs that protect Americans from major disease outbreaks and bioterrorism events.  We can't afford a budget that gives with one hand what it takes away with another."

"Today's kids are on course to be the first in U.S. history to live shorter, less healthy lives than their parents.  The proposed cuts keep us down this wrong course.  We can't afford to make these kind of trade-offs when the future health of the country is at stake," Levi continued.

"The cuts to public health emergency preparedness are particularly troubling.  These cuts could decimate the progress that has been made in the last decade, after September 11, 2001 and the anthrax attacks, to better prepare the country for potential disease outbreaks and bioterrorism events.  We'd be leaving Americans unnecessarily vulnerable to diseases, disasters, and bioterrorism.  And, while a $59 million increase for the Strategic National Stockpile is useful, the $120 million in cuts to emergency preparedness means we might not have the ability to actually get drugs or vaccines to Americans during an outbreak," Levi added.

According to TFAH's analysis of the budget, some particularly troubling cuts include:

  • An overall increase for chronic disease prevention programs, but this increase reflects new funds from the Prevention Fund while many core programs are being cut.
  • A $72 million cut to the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) grants and $35 million cut to the Academic Centers for Public Health Preparedness and Advance Practice Centers.  These cuts are on top of a 27 percent decline in funding for public health preparedness since Fiscal Year (FY) 2005 (adjusted for inflation).  In 2008 and 2009, around 23,000 local public health jobs have been cut and thousands of other workers have had hours cuts or experienced furloughs.  
  • $46 million in cuts to the Hospital Preparedness Program.

While some highlights include:

  • $1 billion in new funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund, of which $752 million is proposed to go to the CDC, including:
    • $221 million for Community Transformation Grants (CTG) – which provide members of communities around the country the resources needed to work together at the local level to create health initiatives tailored to its specific needs. The CTGs are central to transforming the nation's sick care system to health care system by making healthy choices easier choices for more Americans;
    • $161.2 million for other chronic disease prevention activities, including the Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Grant Program, development of the National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy, and Baby Friendly USA;
    • $79 million for tobacco cessation;
    • $61.6 million for vaccinations;
    • $45 million to promote "Information for Action," to assess the health of Americans and most effectively target resources to improve health;
    • $40.2 million for Public Health Infrastructure;
    • $40 million for epidemiology and laboratory capacity – to improve detection and containment of new disease threats;
    • $30.4 million for domestic HIV/AIDS prevention activities;
    • $25 million for public health workforce;
    • $20 million to prevention hospital-associated infections;
    • $20 million for unintentional injury prevention;
    • $10 million for Community Preventive Task Force and Prevention Effectiveness Research; and
    • $9 million to support the Environmental Public Health Tracking Network;
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) programs have received an increase of $58.3 million, including $30 from the Prevention Fund.

Trust for America's Health is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to saving lives by protecting the health of every community and working to make disease prevention a national priority. www.healthyamericans.org

SOURCE Trust for America's Health



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