Trumpcare’s quieter cuts gut food, virus safety, groups warn


Consumers groups are warning of “tragic” consequences from a lesser-known part of the House GOP campaign to roll back Obamacare — whacking $9 billion over multiple years from efforts to battle food-borne illness and viruses such as Zika.

Republican committee leaders have called the Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the Affordable Care Act a “slush fund” that spends about $1 billion a year.

But the practical effect is to cut the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention budget by 12 percent, according to a coalition of groups including the Consumer Federation of America.

“It simply makes no sense to cut back on prevention as potentially more consumers go without health insurance,” Thomas Gremillion, CFA’s director of food policy, said this week. “It’s a prescription with tragic consequences.”

Each year about 1 in 6 Americans, or 48 million, get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of food-borne diseases, he said. The CDC plays a key role in the public health system’s ability to detect and respond to such threats, he said.

The GOP-controlled House Energy and Commerce Committee said in a statement last year it intended to end the health fund as part of overall savings of $25 billion a year.

“This would eliminate the health law’s Prevention and Public Health Fund that provides the HHS Secretary unaccountable access to billions of taxpayer dollars for pet projects,” the committee’s statement said.

The Washington, D.C.-based Safe Food Coalition, made up of groups including CFA, wrote to Republican congressional leaders Tuesday to say the money is needed urgently to protect consumers.

“Detection of multistate food-borne disease outbreaks has been revolutionized by programs like CDC’s PulseNet, a national network of public health and food regulatory agencies that perform standardized molecular subtyping for enteric bacteria,” the group’s letter said.

“A 12 percent cut to the agency’s budget would create pressure to cut back on these programs, however, exposing more consumers to dangerous pathogens that go undetected, ” the letter said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Man attacks drug user in truck with ax, police say 
Man attacks drug user in truck with ax, police say 

A man who was fed up with drug use in his neighborhood confronted a person shooting heroin in a parked truck with an ax, striking its mirror, headlight and windshield, police said.  Dante Jewell was on his balcony Tuesday when he saw a man in a Ford Ranger shoot heroin around 6:45 p.m. and called police, according to WXIN. “I just wasn&rsquo...
Woman watched dogs attack UPS driver, threatened to shoot him, police say
Woman watched dogs attack UPS driver, threatened to shoot him, police say

Five pit bulls trapped a UPS driver on a truck trailer as he bled profusely from their attack, according to a report from Orting Valley Fire and Rescue in Orting, Washington, and it seems that a woman was watching the whole incident while expecting the dogs to kill him. >> Read more trending news  “She also threatened the EMT...
Reward offered after family's 7 horses, 2 donkeys shot and killed
Reward offered after family's 7 horses, 2 donkeys shot and killed

A reward is being offered for information on the person or people who shot nearly a dozen horses and donkeys in a Mississippi field earlier this week, killing seven horses and two donkeys. “My father-in-law got a call, said that some of his horses had been shot,” Tara Christian told WTVA on Tuesday. “This is cruel, absolutely...
What is the Graham-Cassidy health care bill and what does it mean for you?
What is the Graham-Cassidy health care bill and what does it mean for you?

Next week, the Senate will likely vote on a new health care bill, one, like the others that failed earlier this year, aimed at repealing the Affordable Care Act. The bill, sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham, (R-South Carolina), and Dr. Bill Cassidy, (R-Louisiana), would keep a portion of the ACA intact but would restructure the way states get federal...
Budget shortfall leads school to ask parents to donate toilet paper, other supplies
Budget shortfall leads school to ask parents to donate toilet paper, other supplies

A budget shortfall sparked a call for toilet paper donations at schools in Washington state, according to the Kent Education Association. >> Read more trending news  “Due to the Kent School District budget crisis, some schools have been unable to purchase paper goods,” read a flyer, which was distributed to parents...
More Stories