Health advocates raised concern on Monday about deep cuts to key public health and prevention programs included in President Barack Obama’s 2013 budget proposal.
The proposal includes $664 million in cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overall, the agency has seen its budget authority dramatically reduced by $1.4 billion, a more than 20 percent reduction, since fiscal year 2010. The budget would also shift funding from the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a pillar of the Affordable Care Act, to backfill cuts to the CDC and other public health agencies. The fund itself would shrink by more than $4 billion over 10 years.
“This maneuver not only puts the integrity of the CDC’s budget at risk but violates the fundamental spirit of this historic law. It robs Peter to pay Paul,” said APHA’s Georges Benjamin in a press release.
Obama laid out his vision for the budget to students at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Va., on Monday morning.
“I’m proposing some difficult cuts that, frankly, I wouldn’t normally make if they weren’t absolutely necessary. But they are. And the truth is we’re going to have to make some tough choices in order to put this country back on a more sustainable fiscal path,” Obama said.
While some programs received a boost in funding, the overall budget proposal fell flat for many in public health.
“The president’s budget misses an important opportunity to bolster public health services that have been hardest hit by recent budget cuts, leaving gaping holes in areas such as emergency preparedness, environmental health and immunization,” said Robert M. Pestronk, executive director of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, in a statement.
The Office of Management and Budget provides an overview of the budget with key highlights of what is included.