Recommended Reading: The Sequester and Public Health
Two weeks have passed since the sequester—across the board federal budget cuts of close to $100 billion—went into effect with no roll back in sight. An essay by Abdul El-Sayed, a social epidemiologist and physician-in-training at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, details the impact the cuts will have on public health, which has already seen deep budget slashes in the last two years. El-Sayed says since 2010 public health spending has already decreased by about $2.5 billion—nearly 8 percent—and sequestration doubles that total to nearly 16 percent “with potentially more cuts to come in the next several years.”
Sayed reviewed the programs targeted and says public health impacts include cuts in vaccination rates; HIV testing; breast and cervical cancer screening; food service inspections; training for public health workers in epidemiology; laboratory skills; and outbreak investigations and global heath funding.
“Worse than the short-term impacts of sequestration on public health at home and abroad may be the lasting implications sequestration’s cuts will have for the future of public health,” says El-Sayed. “If unabated, these cuts will extend through fiscal year 2021, crippling our public health infrastructure by starving critical organizations, such as the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), of the funds they need to carry out even their most basic operations.”
Read the article.