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Public Health Preparedness Jeopardized by Budget Cuts

HealthLeaders Media Staff, December 20, 2010

Public health preparedness is, she says, "an issue that crosses party lines–since everyone wants to do all he or she can to protect every member of society from suffering. The issue receives strong public support from every corner of the country." She points out that the last time the public health preparedness bill was reauthorized in 2006, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) chaired the subcommittee that authored the legislation and it was supported across the political spectrum.

But the recession looms large, and if anything can trump politics, it's economics.

"The economic situation has obviously changed dramatically since then–and while we continue to see strong bi-partisan support for preparedness issues–the challenges are about balancing cuts against funding for other issues and priorities. The funding for preparedness is discretionary, rather than mandatory which makes it a much more likely target for cuts–at the federal, state, and local levels. It is hard to prognosticate about the political … but we are hoping this report and our efforts with partners will help remind policymakers about what is at stake if they continue to make cuts."

A full list of all of the indicators and scores, and the full report, are available on TFAH's Web site at www.healthyamericans.org and RWJF's Web site at www.rwjf.org.

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