In communities across the country, we are seeing more people change the way they care for their health by limiting tobacco use, eating healthier and becoming more physically active with the support of public health programs. Yet, these advances are being dangerously compromised by recent and pending budget cuts.
The current system is a patchwork of services, programs and regulatory authorities that is not designed for optimal performance nor funded for sustainability and success. Federal, state and local health departments are being asked to do more with less. The capacity for health professionals to prevent and respond to the most pressing health challenges or simply provide basic public health and preventive services is in grave danger.
Devastating effects loom for Iowa communities. According to a new White House report, unless Congress acts before the end of the year, most discretionary public health programs face across-the-board cuts of roughly 8.2 percent if the pending sequester is allowed to take effect in January. It is critical that Congress pass a balanced plan that does not make additional cuts to non-defense discretionary programs, which includes public health funding.
The long-term health costs and consequences far outweigh short-term savings from cuts to public health. Congress must develop a bipartisan, balanced deficit-reduction proposal that prioritizes public health.
Iowa Public Health Association
Comments are closed.