APHA says president's FY 2021 budget plan would hinder public health

Date: Feb 10 2020

Contact: Arnice Cottom, 202-777-3913

Proposed budget slashes public health funding, weakens U.S. ability to tackle public health challenges

Washington, D.C., Feb. 10, 2020 – Extreme funding cuts outlined in the president’s fiscal year 2021 budget proposal would hinder the public health system’s ability to combat many urgent challenges facing the nation, according to the American Public Health Association.

As in past years, the administration’s budget fails to adequately support public health or build upon congressional bipartisan support for investments in public health. In fact, the proposal would slash nondefense discretionary spending below levels that were set in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, which was passed by wide bipartisan margins in both the House and Senate and signed by the president in August.

“In a time where our nation continues to face significant public health challenges — including 2019 novel coronavirus, climate change, gun violence and costly chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer — the administration should be investing more resources in better health, not cutting federal health budgets,” said APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD.

The president’s budget proposes a 9% cut to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and a 26% cut to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The budget includes more than $693 million in cuts to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention programs and a $742 million cut to Health Resources and Services Administration programs.

The budget also proposes billions of dollars in cuts to critical safety-net programs that protect health, including Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

“This budget, put simply, is a disinvestment in the health of Americans,” Benjamin said. “It’s possible for us to improve public health by increasing our investment in prevention, access to health care and essential life-preserving needs such as adequate nutritional services.

“We have an incredibly dedicated public health workforce that is ready to act. But we need federal investments to make that happen. An adequate and rational investment in the health of Americans is missing from this budget.”

APHA urges Congress to closely examine and reject this deeply flawed proposal, and once again work for bipartisan solutions that adequately fund and strengthen programs at CDC, HRSA and other agencies that support the public health workforce and our goal of achieving a healthier nation in one generation.


The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Learn more at www.apha.org.