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Triage: Flu Outbreak Saps Public Health Resources

Amid Budget Cuts and Layoffs, Clinics Responding to H1N1 Outbreak Delay Routine Immunizations and Restaurant Inspections

December 10, 2009
by BETSY MCKAY
Wall Street Journal

The House health-overhaul bill calls for $33.9 billion by 2015 in investments in public health infrastructure, disease prevention, and other public health programs. The Senate version calls for $15 billion by 2019 for similar initiatives. The money would come on top of current federal funding for public health, noted Richard Hamburg, deputy director of Trust for America's Health, a nonprofit organization that promotes disease prevention. "It's substantial new money," he said.

The new money is meant to more adequately arm public health departments to battle infectious diseases like H1N1 as well as to prevent chronic diseases and conditions that are responsible for more deaths today but are underfunded, Dr. Frieden said. "There are many, many areas where we're not investing."

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