Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Solidarity Forever

As a card-carrying member of the American Public Health Association, I have taken a blood oath to stand with my brothers and sisters in APHA when the barbarians are at the gate. APHA today calls us all to the ramparts:

On February 7, President Bush released his fiscal year 2006 budget proposal. In the proposed budget, the discretionary budget authority of the Department of Health and Human Services (which funds non-entitlement programs and agencies such as CDC, HRSA, FDA and more) would decline by $300 million to $68.9 billion. Within the budget resolution, all of these agencies and programs are contained within Function 550, health discretionary spending.

Although the President's proposed budget includes increases for HIV/AIDS (both global and domestic), community health centers and influenza preparedness, it fails to adequately invest in disease prevention and health promotion activities and cuts funding directed towards state and local bioterrorism preparedness activities. The budget contains proposed cuts in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ($550 million), a 64 percent cut for the health professions program under the auspices of the Health Resources and Services Administration (the agency’s budget overall would be cut 12.3%) and eliminates the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant and the VERB program, among other proposed cuts in funding.


The Senate and House versions of the FY 2005 budget resolution are likely to propose cuts in discretionary spending, including spending for public health programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Resources and Services Administration, National Institutes of Health, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Indian Health Service, the Food and Drug Administration, and Developmental and other Disability Programs within HHS. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that APHA members contact their senators and representative today, voicing their strong support for public health funding, so ultimately funding for these essential agencies and programs is not cut.

You can call your Senators and Representative through the Capitol Hill Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. APHA asks you tell them,

to vote AGAINST all budget resolutions that cut funding for Function 550 health discretionary spending and FOR amendments that increase funding, and our national investment, in public health programs and activities that protect our health; prevent, or treat early, diseases and disabilities; and provide a safety net for the medically underserved. Although the proposed cuts to public health programs will achieve savings in the short term, they will ultimately yield a higher investment in treatment in the long term, in addition to lower worker productivity.


* The VERB program is the CDC effort to inspire kids to be physically active.

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