Monday, March 13, 2017

GOP Health Bill Would Cut CDC's $1B Disease-Fighting Fund

By Associated Press • Mar 10, 2017

A proposal to replace the Obama health care law would cut out a pillar of funding for the nation's lead public health agency, and experts say that would likely curtail programs across the country to prevent problems like lead poisoning and hospital infections.

The Republican bill calls for the elimination of a $1 billion-a-year fund created for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by the Affordable Care Act in 2010. The fund's goal: Pay for public health programs designed to prevent illness and, therefore, reduce health care costs.


Some Republican legislators have championed the demise of the fund, equating it to a "slush fund." They say they want more control over how public health funds are spent.
[Like they are so qualified to make decisions about how medical funding should be spent. Anybody who pays attention knows that these decisions will be affected by politics and a greater concern for the power elite than the rest of us.]


The CDC's total budget is around $11.8 billion, but about a third of that is for specific projects mandated by Congress. Those programs, for example, pay for vaccines for poor children and monitor the health of survivors of the 9/11 World Trade Center disaster.

What's left is the core of the agency's budget. The Atlanta-based agency has received the special funding for seven years, and currently it accounts for about 12 percent, or about $900 million, of the core budget, according to the CDC.

Much of the money is passed on to state and local health departments. That funding bolsters vaccination programs, upgrades state laboratories that monitor for Zika and other infectious diseases and pays for a push to reduce infections spread in hospitals. It supports programs to save people from diabetes, cancer, heart disease and stroke. And it completely finances the CDC's lead poisoning prevention program.


Harris, the Maryland Republican, said that federal budget constraints mean that at some point more public health costs are going to shift to the states. Local public health officials and advocates "are not lobbying their legislatures adequately," he said.
[So people in poor states will not have the same resources. Since they usually vote republican and voted for Trump, I guess this could be considered fair.]


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