The state of our public health infrastructure is, well, kinda like the rest of infrastructure (boldface mine):
But here at home, two programs that deal directly with emergency preparedness for hospitals have been cut. The CDC’s emergency preparedness program, which provides funding and staff in state and local health departments. In just the last six years, more than 45,700 jobs were lost in state and local health departments because of federal funding cuts. Additionally, the Hospital Preparedness Program, a state-federal cooperative administered by the Department of Health and Human Services has been slashed. In 2003, its budget was $520 million. In 2014 and 2015, it’s $255 million.
Those are two programs which should have been ready in Dallas, Texas, (or anywhere else in the country) to help Texas Presbyterian respond immediately and effectively to an Ebola patient showing up on its doorstep. We don’t know what their role in this case was, if they had one. But we do know that both programs have been decimated by Republicans who have held the federal budget hostage for the last six years.
Let’s add one more program to the list: AHRQ, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Republicans have tried killing this agency, whose task is to improve hospital care. It’s not entirely clear why, but concerns that comparative effectiveness studies (how well one treatment works versus another) have been floating around since Obama proposed the ACA (‘Obamacare’).
Nuts. And it might just kill people.