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Every Sequester Cut Is a Cut to the Public's Health

March 01, 2013


"The across-the-board cuts to the federal budget triggered by today’s sequester will be devastating to the public’s health. Reduced support for public health will cost jobs and resources in the short run, and the long term costs—in money and lives—will be borne by families and communities for years to come. There is still time for Congress to act quickly and reverse the impact.

"The numbers are grim. The $85 billion in indiscriminate spending cuts will include reduced funding for research on disease and treatment to save lives, the maintenance of clean air and water, vaccinating children, responding to public health emergencies, and screening to catch diseases such as cancer and HIV.

"But these cuts don’t tell the whole story. One child not vaccinated could translate into hundreds more kids exposed to whooping cough; fewer dollars in the Prevention and Public Health Fund now means whole communities with higher chronic disease rates down the road. One cut has a snowball effect across our communities.

"And almost every cut, in every area, impacts health. Cuts to subsidies for rental housing, Head Start early childhood programs, child care, the Women, Infants and Children program, and federal work-study aid for college students also exacerbate the social, economic and environmental factors that play a major part in the nation’s crisis in obesity and chronic illness.

"PHI calls on Congress to find a more balanced and reasoned approach to the budget, before the current Continuing Resolution ends in late March. Domestic and global programs that are essential to health must be protected. We cannot sacrifice our health for the sake of arbitrary budget cuts that undermine the well-being and security of our nation."