President Trump wants to cut funding for public health preparedness programs as the U.S. health care system looks at a new coronavirus outbreak in China and is preparing for a possible outbreak there,media reported. It is understood that the leadership’s draft 2021 budget for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will cut $25 million from the Office of Public Health Preparation and Response and $18 million for hospital preparation projects.
It will also require more than $85 million in cuts to new and zoonotic infectious diseases projects.
“It needs to be clear that these projects are underfunded,” Nicolette Louissaint, executive director of the nonprofit fund Healthcare Ready, wrote on Twitter.
The Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, which is part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is responsible for responding to public health emergencies. It also coordinates public health responses with local and international partners and manages national strategic reserves — stocking up vital medical supplies for emergency use.
It is understood that the 2021 budget calls for an additional $50 million for the CDC’s Rapid Response Fund for Infectious Diseases. The fund was established in fy2019 and is currently being used in the ongoing response to the new coronavirus. However, the money will only be used in the event of a public health threat.
The preparation of projects is forward-looking in itself, and funding them usually does not have an immediate effect, but ensuring adequate support means that public health agencies are prepared for emergencies, and limiting this is never a good idea. The new coronaviruses that are currently circulating have shown their importance, and if they begin to spread more widely in the United States, they will become even more important.