public health funding

NATIONAL. 4 Health Programs (Other Than CHIP) That Congress Has Left in Limbo. (Governing)

By Mattie Quinn

It’s been more than 100 days since Congress missed its deadline to pass a long-term spending bill for the federal government. That has left the fate of many federally-funded, state-administered programs up in the air.

Most of the uproar around Capitol Hill gridlock is aimed at the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). It has historically had bipartisan support and covers 9 million children and pregnant women who don’t have employer-based insurance but make too much money to qualify for Medicaid.

In the meantime, the federal government has repeatedly released unspent funds to help states keep CHIP running. The most recent money is supposed to keep the programs afloat through March, but federal health officials warned last week that some states could run out this month.

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NATIONAL. Local Health Officials: GOP Tax Reform Jeopardizes Our Response to Infectious Disease Outbreaks. (Route50)

By Quinn Libson

Local health officials are sounding the alarm about the ways in which the GOP tax reform plan, which was passed by the U.S. House on Tuesday, might jeopardize our country’s response to outbreaks of infectious disease—like the hepatitis A outbreaks happening at this very moment around the country.

The National Association of County and City Health Officials, which represents nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments, warned during a call on Tuesday with reporters that proposed tax cuts have the potential to result in the near elimination of the Prevention and Public Health Fund—a source of money that was created by the Affordable Care Act—due to automatic spending reductions triggered by the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010. Aside from making up 12 percent of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s total funding, the PPHF makes local infectious disease response possible in several crucial ways.  

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CHICAGO. From the Notebook: City Official Appears on D.C. Panel. (Chicago Tribune)

By Katherine Skiba,

Dr. Julie Morita, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, will appear Tuesday on a panel on Capitol Hill to talk about funding for public health programs.

Morita on Monday said more federal money is needed to detect and respond to outbreaks of illnesses such as influenza, mumps, measles, whooping cough, meningitis and the Zika virus.

She worries that if insurance coverage for so-called essential health benefits is eliminated, fewer people will obtain vaccines and be screened for diseases such as breast and colon cancer. Such steps prevent disease or allow for early detection, Morita said.

A flyer for the panel discussion says just as with the nation’s roads and bridges, its public health infrastructure “remains antiquated and in need of modernization.”

Count her among opponents of a GOP effort in the Senate to dismantle Obamacare, which she said led to about 300,000 more Chicagoans obtaining health insurance. A recent study showed just over 9 percent of city residents are not insured, which she called a record low. 

The event is sponsored by the Congressional Public Health Caucus, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers including U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Evanston Democrat.

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