Bush Budget Plan Includes ‘Major Cuts’ to CDC Programs
CDC Director Julie Gerberding on Tuesday acknowledged that the fiscal year 2007 budget plan proposed by President Bush includes spending reductions for important agency programs -- such as research on infectious and environmental diseases, health promotion and studies on public health -- the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. At a forum on government investment in research and development, Gerberding said CDC is "working hard to be more effective with less," adding, "I'm not going to pretend that it's not a challenge."
In his FY 2007 budget plan, Bush proposed that spending for CDC remain flat.
However, according to the Campaign for Public Health, the proposal would use emergency flu pandemic spending to conceal "major cuts" in spending for CDC. In a press release distributed at the forum, CPH said that the CDC operational budget was reduced for the first time in 25 years in FY 2006, and, in combination with the Bush FY 2007 budget plan, "core programs at CDC will be cut by more than 8% in just two years."
Gerberding said that the U.S. "simply cannot sustain this lack of investment in effective (disease) prevention sciences" (Nesmith, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 3/22).
In related news, the National Association for Children's Behavioral Health and the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems on Tuesday released a study that finds efforts to increase flexibility for state Medicaid programs and reduce spending for the program "would reduce the availability of 24-hour rehabilitation services that help children suffering from an array of mental illnesses," CQ HealthBeat reports.
The FY 2006 Deficit Reduction Act, which Bush signed last month, will reduce Medicaid spending by $6.9 billion over five years. The law allows states to decide spending levels for "optional" Medicaid services, such as mental health services.
In addition, the Bush FY 2007 budget plan would reduce Medicaid spending by $4.9 billion over five years; the Senate budget resolution does not include a reduction in Medicaid spending, and the House has not marked up a budget resolution.
The mental health advocacy groups said that Congress should reject proposed spending reductions for early and periodic screening, diagnosis and treatment, targeted case management, rehabilitation and clinic options and the psychiatric under-21 benefit.
Office of Management and Budget spokesperson Alex Conant said that the Bush FY 2007 budget plan would "help states bill rehabilitation services appropriately and ensure the integrity of Medicaid payments for these services" (Hopkins, CQ HealthBeat, 3/21).