The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday approved a framework to guide federal spending for the next fiscal year with dangerous implications for public health. The measure would slash funding for programs across the public health continuum — from efforts that prevent disease outbreaks to those that train health workers — and it repeals the Affordable Care Act.

“Cuts outlined in the agreement would devastate our nation’s public health and safety net system.” — Georges Benjamin

“This measure is a nonstarter,” said Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of APHA, in a news release. “Cuts outlined in the agreement would devastate our nation’s public health and safety net system and would have a disproportionate impact on our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.”

Not only does the agreement uphold harmful cuts mandated through sequestration, but it slashes spending for nondefense discretionary programs by another half a trillion dollars over the next decade while increasing military spending by nearly $40 billion next year.

The proposal would also repeal the ACA, including elimination of the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which is funding programs across the country to fight obesity, curb tobacco use and increase access to preventive care services.

In addition, the agreement would weaken the health safety net for our most vulnerable Americans by block-granting and cutting funding for Medicaid and calling for massive cuts to programs for low-income Americans, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

The measure passed the House in a 226-197 vote. The Senate is expected to pass the budget plan next week. Since it is a non-binding resolution, the framework only sets the terms for future budget debates and is not signed into law.

“We urge the Senate to reject the budget agreement and instead work to adopt a measure that eliminates sequestration, strengthens our nation’s public health system and safeguards the health of all Americans,” Benjamin said.