House Proposes Deep Cuts; President's FY12 Budget Released
At press time, simultaneous action on various fronts may affect local health departments and public health. As Congress debates House-proposed cuts to federal funding for the current fiscal year (FY2011), the Administration has released a budget for FY2012 that proposes some cuts and many changes in prevention and public health funding.
Prevention and Public Health Fund
On Feb. 9, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced allocations for the $750 million available in FY2011 through the Prevention and Public Health Fund established by the health reform law.
Of the $750 million available, $40 million will be for public health infrastructure, $45 million for workforce training, and $52 million for epidemiology and laboratory capacity. Also included is $298 million for various approaches to community-based prevention, including Community Transformation Grants and the launch of a consolidated chronic disease prevention grant program. HHS has pledged that it will release Funding Opportunity Announcements as soon as possible. It is important to remember that Congress retains the authority to revise or rescind these allocations until the funds are obligated. Complete detail on the allocations can be found here: http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/prevention02092011b.html.
The House Appropriations Committee has passed legislation (H.R. 1) detailing cuts to federal spending for the remainder of FY2011 (through September 30). H.R. 1 would cut the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by 23%, paid for in part by allocating the entire Prevention and Public Health Fund for FY11 ($750 million) to CDC, contrary to the purpose of the PPHF. NACCHO has vigorously opposed these cuts and continues to advocate for support for critical public health programs.
The federal government is now funded under a Continuing Resolution until March 4, 2011. Congress and the White House must agree on a way forward by that time. The House, Senate and the White House must all agree to the final FY2011 funding bill. When and how that may occur remains unknown at this writing.
On Feb. 14, President Obama released his $3.7 trillion FY12 budget that will trim or terminate more than 200 federal programs, including cuts to Public Health Emergency Preparedness and elimination of the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant.
The budget allocates $1 billion in mandatory spending from the Prevention and Public Health Fund, including $40 million for public health infrastructure, $25 million for public health workforce and $221 million for community transformation grants. $158 million from the PPHF will be combined with funds from disease-specific line items to create a new, chronic disease grant program. The President’s budget will be subject to action from Congress, and will undoubtedly be “dead on arrival” in the House of Representatives, which seeks far greater budget reductions. NACCHO will continue to work to support funding for public health programs and alert NACCHO members when communication with Members of Congress is needed. More information on the President’s budget is available at NACCHO’s website: http://www.naccho.org/advocacy/fy12-budget.cfm.