President’s budget would hinder public health programs, says APHA

Date: Mar 11 2019

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

Proposed budget slashes public health funding, weakens U.S. ability to tackle public health challenges

Washington, D.C., March 11, 2019 — Extreme funding cuts outlined in the president’s fiscal year 2020 budget request would hinder public health programs, APHA said today. As in past years, the administration’s budget proposal has failed to support public health or build upon congressional bipartisan progress in public health investment.

APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, said, “In a time where life expectancy is falling, our leadership should be investing in better health, not cutting federal health budgets.” The president’s budget proposes a 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency and a 12 percent cut to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The budget includes more than $750 million in cuts to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention programs and a nearly $1 billion cut to Health Resources and Services Administration programs.

APHA welcomes the administration’s call to action to eliminate the transmission of HIV in the U.S. in 10 years, and the allocation of $291 million to fund this effort. However, the president’s budget proposal also cuts spending for many other important public health programs. Benjamin added, “While we welcome this important initiative to slow the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the funding for this effort should not come at the expense of other public health programs.”

APHA calls on the president to instead prioritize a deal with Congress that would raise budget caps, avoiding a devastating 12 percent cut to nondefense discretionary spending. Any budget deal enacted by Congress should also provide parity between defense and nondefense spending.

“This budget, put simply, kicks the can of worsening American health down the road. It’s possible for us to improve public health by increasing our investment in immunizations, preventing chronic disease, reducing injuries, protecting the public from environmental health threats and improving access to other critical health services. We have an incredibly dedicated public health workforce that is ready to act. But we need investment from our government’s leadership to make that happen, and that is certainly missing from this budget,” added Benjamin.

We urge Congress to closely examine and reject this deeply flawed proposal, and to instead work for bipartisan solutions that adequately fund and strengthen our public health agencies, including HRSA and CDC, to protect the public. 

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APHA champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the public health profession. We speak out for public health issues and policies backed by science. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-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.