Short-term funding measure puts public health at risk

Date: Jan 22 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Megan Lowry, 202-777-3913

Statement from Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director, American Public Health Association

Washington D.C., Jan. 22, 2018 – “While we are relieved the government shutdown has ended, funding the federal government through continuing resolutions is an inadequate answer to our country’s pressing public health needs. Asking public health programs and professionals to operate on repeated short-term funding measures is an unacceptable practice that has created continual budget uncertainty.

“How can our country respond to emergencies like the current Influenza outbreak and opioid crisis when we don’t know if public health agencies will have funds to pay staff, buy supplies, and keep the lights on and doors open?

“Indispensable health programs including community health centers, the National Health Service Corps and other expired health programs must also be reauthorized and funded immediately now that CHIP has been extended – but not at the expense of other important public health funding, including the Prevention and Public Health Fund. It’s irresponsible for Congress to use programs that keep communities healthy and safe as a bargaining chip.

“We urge Congress and the administration to immediately finalize a long-term budget deal that raises spending caps for nondefense discretionary programs and fully funds all agencies for the remainder of the fiscal year, including increased funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Health Resources and Services Administration. Congress should seize the opportunity to move forward with a bipartisan solution to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival recipients.

“When we gamble with prevention, we gamble with our future. We implore Congress to approve long-term funding for all health agencies and expired programs including community health centers and the National Health Service Corps, and to restore the previous cuts made to the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Public health needs investments that last longer than a few weeks.”

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