Newswise — Washington, DC—Today, the Endocrine Society calls on Congress to prevent further budget cuts to federal health programs. As part of the Coalition for Health Funding (CHF), which represents more than 90 public health advocacy organizations, the Society released a new report documenting the dire consequences of Congress’s deep cuts to public health programs in recent years. “Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Hurt America’s Health” illustrates how cuts in NIH funding for biomedical research have significantly impeded efforts to find cures and new therapies for endocrine diseases like diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, and thyroid cancer and cuts in the federal budget have adversely affected the public’s health and economy. “Just a tiny fraction of the federal budget goes toward supporting all of our nation’s public health needs—everything from preventing disease, to keeping our food and drugs safe, to ensuring that Americans have access to primary care doctors. Flat federal funding over the last decade has reduced that small pot of money to unacceptable levels. At a time when we should be taking advantage of scientific opportunities and building on previous discoveries, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is operating at a level that is 20 percent below the NIH budget in FY 2003,” said Richard Santen, MD, president of the Endocrine Society. “We need Congress to stop further cuts to public health programs and continue investing in keeping American families and communities strong, safe, and healthy.”
Nationally, budget cuts have forced the layoffs of more than 50,000 public health professionals who monitor and respond to virus outbreaks, immunize children and the elderly, inspect restaurants, and care for the indigent. Public health departments in 33 states and the District of Columbia have reduced their budgets. Funds for public health overall, let alone the workforce, have been eroding for nearly a decade and while there will be some limited sequester relief in 2014, sequestration threatens public health programs in 2015 and for years to come unless Congress does something to support a balanced approach to deficit reduction.
“More than 29 million people in this country have diabetes and we desperately need to do something about it. Cuts to health programs are slowing, and sometimes halting potentially life-saving research,” said Santen. “Investing in biomedical research funding is investing in ourselves, our families, and our communities and should not be further eroded.”
The new report, online at www.cutshurt.org, will be presented today at a Hill briefing at 12:00-1:30 p.m. in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room SD-562.
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Founded in 1916, the Endocrine Society is the world’s oldest, largest and most active organization devoted to research on hormones and the clinical practice of endocrinology. Today, the Endocrine Society’s membership consists of over 17,000 scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in more than 100 countries. Society members represent all basic, applied and clinical interests in endocrinology. The Endocrine Society is based in Washington, DC. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit our site at www.endocrine.org. Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/EndoMedia.