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WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Barack Obama today announced a proposed budget for fiscal year 2015 that despite some targeted investments in public health is disappointing, according to the American Public Health Association.
The president directs new money to the Global Health Security Agenda, a new initiative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designed to enhance detection and prevention of disease outbreaks worldwide and improve response to such threats, yet cuts overall funding for CDC about $243 million below fiscal year 2014.
“Designating new funding to protect against disease outbreaks is a smart thing to do,” said Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of APHA. “It’s good for the U.S. and good for the world. Yet the president’s proposal leaves the agency as a whole woefully underfunded.”
The budget request includes a nearly 7 percent funding cut in total budget authority for CDC.
“While we acknowledge the ongoing fiscal pressures on federal discretionary funding, we are deeply concerned that the administration is proposing deep cuts to CDC’s budget authority, particularly on the heels of the fiscal year 2014 omnibus spending bill that restored some of the prior reductions to CDC’s budget,” said Benjamin. “Ongoing cuts to public health programs continue to leave all of us at risk.”
Likewise, the budget proposal invests in strengthening the health work force through the National Health Service Corps, a program of the Health Resources and Services Administration. And while HRSA sees a big boost in funding for community health centers and work force programs, discretionary funding for the agency as a whole is cut $761 million, a 13 percent cut to its budget authority.
“While there are a few bright spots, overall funding for core public health programs is inadequate and short sighted,” said Benjamin. “In the face of fiscal pressures, we look forward to working with the administration and Congress to reverse austerity measures that prevent adequate investment in programs that promote and protect public health.”
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