FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Daniel Greenberg, 202-777-3913,
President’s budget strengthens public health yet additional investments needed, says APHA
Washington, D.C., Feb. 3, 2015 — President Barack Obama proposed an end to sequestration in his fiscal year 2016 budget request yesterday, which, according to the American Public Health Association, includes several important investments to bolster public health nationwide.
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The request would provide a much needed $1.2 billion to prevent and combat antibiotic resistance and would include a $264 million increase for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention activities. Overall CDC’s budget would increase by $141 million over fiscal year 2015, including spending increases for its Climate and Health Program, global health and drug overdose prevention activities. The proposal also eliminates the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health program and the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant, both programs strongly supported by APHA.
"We question the wisdom of the cuts to the 317 vaccine programs and believe they are premature,” said APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD. “While there may indeed be savings from implementation of the Affordable Care Act, state resistance to coverage expansions may prove to be a problem. Additionally, the loss of funding that helps ensure that people get their shots would harm our health system’s ability to respond to a host of reemerging infectious diseases like measles and pertussis."
One welcome addition to the budget is the president’s proposed $303 million increase for the Food and Drug Administration to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act to better protect our nation’s food supply, which is strongly supported by APHA.
Additionally, the Health Resources and Services Administration’s discretionary budget authority would be increased by $112.9 million over FY 2015, including funding a new program to recruit and train physicians in rural settings. HRSA’s Health Center Program remains intact under the proposal — and would expand services to an estimated 1.1 million more Americans over the coming year. Unfortunately, the request also eliminates the Area Health Education Centers program, which recruits, trains and retains a diverse health care workforce for underserved communities.
"First and foremost, APHA strongly supports the president’s plan to end sequestration,” Benjamin said. "This removes one part of the problem and would provide some additional discretionary dollars to fund select public health priorities. However, the tight caps under the Budget Control Act continue to put the squeeze on our ability to adequately fund important new and existing public health programs. We look forward to working with the administration and Congress to pass fiscal year 2016 spending bills that prioritize public health and work to create a healthier America.
"We know how vital public health programs are to safeguarding our health at state, local and national levels. This proposal doesn’t optimally fund our nation’s primary public health agencies but its call for critical reinvestments puts us in better position to respond to everyday threats and unexpected emergencies."
The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the profession of public health, share the latest research and information, promote best practices and advocate for public health issues and policies grounded in research. We are the only organization that combines a 140-plus year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Visit us at www.apha.org.