July 17, 2012
How can Congress justify the elimination of a critical health agency and severe cuts to other programs under the House Labor-HHS-Education appropriations subcommittee bill? We cannot afford to zero out funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) at a time when it is addressing medical errors that kill more than 100,000 people a year and accelerating patient access to the best medical practices. We cannot afford to slash the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) budget when it barely has enough funds as it is to protect Americans against pandemics, bioterrorism, and outbreaks of dangerous and deadly infectious diseases. Unfortunately, the subcommittee started with a funding level that almost assured the measure released today. Fortunately, this is not the end game; there are more negotiations ahead, when, we trust, better decisions will be made.
Essentially, the measure turns its back on the health and safety of Americans. As the House and Senate negotiate final spending levels for fiscal year 2013, we hope that they will assign priorities with an eye toward assuring that we retain and sustain agencies that are well-respected by citizens and critical to improving the health and wellbeing of us all.
# # #