FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Health group says government shutdown hurts public health

A congressional measure to restore funding to the CDC amid the government shutdown won't adequately protect Americans from outbreaks of foodborne illnesses or other diseases, the Trust for America's Healths said on Thursday.

Dr. Jeffrey Levi, the executive director of TFAH, said the CDC's ability to protect the public's health has been compromised by a lack of support from other federal agencies. Those agencies include the Department of Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Department of Homeland Security.

"TFAH opposes the 'mini-continuing resolution' to fund CDC because it doesn't address our nation's crucial public health needs and services in a comprehensive way," Levi said. "While it is encouraging that there is an acknowledgement of the importance of CDC, it is naive to think that piecemeal support can adequately protect the nation's health."

A recent outbreak of Salmonella poisoning from raw chicken that was produced at three Foster Farms factories in California demonstrated CDC's need for support from other federal agencies. Thirty CDC employees were sent to investigate the outbreak, but a sufficient response would involve additional resources from the FDA and USDA.

CDC has received more than 300 reported cases of Salmonella poisoning across 20 states from the contaminated chicken.

"Partial solutions and locking in sequester cuts are inadequate and insufficient to guarantee the safety of Americans and ensure everyone can be as healthy as they want," Levi said. "The current situation leaves Americans without the information they need to protect themselves and their families."

Levi urged lawmakers to expedite funding to all government agencies to ensure the safety of Americans.