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The Public Health Budget

March 4, 2008

Cheaper than CheaperIn the March edition of the APHA newspaper, The Nation’s Health, there is an article on the President’s proposed 2009 budget.  The article is pretty scathing, too.  It is, unfortunately, not yet posted on APHA’s website, and may not be available to non-APHA members.  I’ll update this paragraph if and when it goes live.

Here’s the stats:

Bush’s 2009 proposal, …, recommends cutting funding  to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by more than $412 million – a 7 percent cut below fiscal year 2008 funding and a return to 2003 funding levels.  The Health Resources and Services Administration is also slated for considerable cuts in Bush’s proposal, which calls for cutting the agencies budget by almost $1 billion, including an almost 70 percent cut to the nation’s health professions training program.

Picture me with my mouth agape after reading that.

Bush’s budget also recommends a $15.5 million decrease to chronic disease prevention and community health promotion programs, a more than $7 million cut to CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health Laboratory, a $7.2 million cut to the agency’s Safe Water program, an almost $7 million cut to West Nile Virus work, a $2.1 million cut to the National Center for Health Marketing, and a more than $135 million cut to the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program, which provides state and local grants.

More agapeness.

So, then I looked for blog posts on this sorry state of affairs, and came across this post from a Disease Ecology class blog at UC Santa Barbara:

My math could be wrong here but it looks like the entire CDC budget (which must be around 6 billion if $430 million is 7% of it) is less than a fifth of the defense spending increase proposed for this year (the increase must be about $36 billion if it is 7% of $515 billion).

Now, I’m a bit confused by the defense spending increase bit, but the fact that one can have a discussion where the year over year increase in military spending is compared to the entire public health budget and not have anyone blink is a symptom of some pretty screwed up priorities, if you ask me.

We’ll have to see what eventually comes out of this funding battle, but given that the conversation is starting here, we’ve got a long way to go for any kind of positive outcome.

Photo credit: Alaina B.

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