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Coalition for Health Funding releases statement on the Ryan Budget

The Coalition for Health Funding, of which NRHA is a member, released the following statement following the release of Chairman Ryan's budget: "In his budget blueprint released today, Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan states, 'the safety and security of the American people is the first responsibility of the federal government.' The Coalition for Health Funding couldn’t agree more. But it takes more than just the Department of Defense to protect Americans. Federal public health programs play a critical role in national security. Under Mr. Ryan’s budget our troops—and all Americans—pay the price. "Every day, in important ways most Americans don’t even realize, the federal government supports public health programs that keep them safe and secure. The agencies and programs of the Department of Health and Human Services conduct health research; prevent disease, disability, and injury; assure food and drug safety; protect and respond in times of crisis; educate the next generation of scientists, health care providers, and public health professionals; and provide our nation’s most vulnerable access to care. Mr. Ryan’s budget would further cut these critical programs in fiscal 2013 and redirect this funding to the Department of Defense. Public health programs have already borne more than their fair share of the responsibility for deficit reduction—with two straight years of funding cuts and a looming sequester that will cut even deeper. These programs are not the root cause of our fiscal crisis and cutting them further will not bring the budget into balance. On the contrary, with greater investment, these public health programs are an integral part of the solution. Evidence abounds—from the Pentagon to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—that healthy Americans are stronger on the battlefield, have higher academic achievement, and are more productive in school and on the job. "'Mr. Ryan wants to protect the well-being of soldiers and their families, but our nation’s soldiers, like all Americans, rely on public health programs here on American soil,' said Emily Holubowich, Executive Director of the Coalition for Health Funding. 'These programs discover cures for debilitating diseases and keep our food and water safe. They provide needed mental health services to our returning wounded, and they help families rebuild their lives after natural disasters. Eroding the public health infrastructure through indiscriminant cuts will do Americans more harm than good.' "The Coalition for Health Funding is a nonprofit alliance working to preserve public health investments in the interest of all Americans. Our member organizations together represent more than 100 million patients, health care providers, public health professionals, and scientists."

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