Meadville Tribune

Our Health

June 18, 2013

Health services severely affected by sequestration

As most of us are aware, sequestration has had an impact on a variety of national resources that provide vital services to our country. The cap on spending affected defense and nondefense discretionary programs, including many public health initiatives. Over the next 10 years, $1 trillion will be cut from such programs because Congress failed to pass a balanced deficit reduction plan.

In the world of public health, there are substantial cuts to every state’s public health initiatives. Here are the key facts when compared to funding levels from 12 years ago, noting that the numbers are adjusted for inflation and population growth:

- Health Resources and Services Administration: $2 billion reduction. This reduces the health workforce, which exists to support training new health professionals.

- National Institutes of Health: $1.2 billion reduction. This reduces the amount of funding for critical health research such as cancer and diabetes cures.

- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: $813 million reduction. This cut will affect successful smoking cessation programs as well as critical mental health services for low-income groups. This could mean that close to 373,000 seriously mentally ill adults and children will go untreated, leading to increased hospitalizations, criminal cases and homelessness.

- Head Start: $968 million reduction. According to the Education Subcommittee on Appropriations, over the last decade there have been struggles with a significant shortfall from this early childhood education program that eliminated thousands of enrollment slots across the nation. This additional cut will likely result in turning away children who could benefit from Head Start programming in the state.

- Child Care and Development Block Grant: $592 million reduction. This means that only one in six children will be eligible for child care assistance when far more than that require help. According to the Education Subcommittee on Appropriations, child care remains one of the biggest challenges for working families.

- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: $122 million reduction. This affects a plethora of programs from environmental health and immunization to emergency response and preparedness to global health.

The most recent sequestration hit the CDC the hardest, causing a $580 million reduction in the centers’ 2014 operating plan. No program went unscathed, as the following areas will see reduced funding:

- Immunization and respiratory research

- HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STI and TB prevention

- Emerging and Zoonotic (animal-transmitted) infectious diseases

- Chronic disease prevention and health promotion

- Cancer prevention and control program

- Birth defects, developmental disabilities, disability and health

- Environmental health

- Injury prevention and control

- Scientific services (surveillance, informatics, career development)

- Occupational safety and health

- Global health

- Emergency response and preparedness

One of the hardest hit areas was the childhood immunization program, which took more than $1 million in cuts from 2013 to 2014. This could essentially create issues with the start of the school year in 2014 when required immunizations will not be as easily accessible to low-income groups.

In addition, the cuts affect food safety programs and up to 2,100 food inspection jobs could be lost, putting families at risk of foodborne illnesses. Furthermore, this cut coupled with the reduction in emergency response and preparedness funding could open the door to easier bioterrorism attacks via the nation’s food supply.

The list of issues goes on and on because of the impasse and the exceptionally high national debt. The impact will be nationwide with both services and personnel being cut. The NDD United (with NDD meaning nondefense discretionary) created a video that explains the cuts. You can access it at

There has been a solution on the table through The Prevention and Public Health Fund, created under the Affordable Care Act. This fund had the potential to sink billions of dollars into public health and prevention services. According to the ACA, the fund is to provide $18.75 billion from 2010 to 2022 and then $2 billion per year after that. Unfortunately, a February 2012 piece of legislation cut that $18.75 billion over 12 years to $6.25 billion over nine years. Further reductions were made thanks to sequestration.

Bell, Ph.D., MPH, is a public health professor with Ashford University and works in health promotions for the Meadville Family YMCA. You can email her at

Text Only
Our Health
  • Don't let a desk job negatively impact your health

    If you’re female, you might want to consider a more physically active career to avoid a variety of cancers.

    July 21, 2014

  • Study focuses on cancer in those who apply pesticides

    This year marks the end of the Agricultural Health Study, a 20-year study of the effects of pesticides on farm workers and their families. Although the study focused on Iowa and North Carolina, there are still some elements that are important for Pennsylvania farmers as well as anyone who handles chemical compounds.

    June 30, 2014

  • Learn to swim and keep drowning at bay

    When you and your family hit the pool or the beach this summer, you need to be aware of a phenomenon known as secondary drowning, or dry drowning.

    June 16, 2014

  • ‘Planting’ the seeds of a better diet this summer

    Summertime is a great time to make improvements to your diet and lifestyle. Despite the conflicting “advice” you may get about diet when reading the popular press (not to mention all of the “food rules”), adding more plants to your diet is always a good idea.

    June 9, 2014

  • Is the idea of drinkable sunscreen worth swallowing?

    Tired of greasy, sticky hands after applying sunscreen? Even the spray-on sunscreens leave you inhaling fumes that you shouldn’t breathe. Well, enter a new era of skincare products: drinkable sunscreen.

    June 3, 2014

  • Survivor stories: Beating cancer with faith and family love

    I recently talked with Rebecca Arbuckle of Meadville to discuss her journey with breast cancer and how she was able to beat it with faith, strength and the love of her family. Although our conversation was upbeat and filled with confidence, there were times that emotion broke through, as it should, for having faced such a battle and won. I am in awe of the people I have had the chance to interview and am honored to share their stories.

    May 27, 2014

  • Uncovering the simple fix to the 'super bug'

    The World Health Organization has identified a serious threat to human health around the globe. Known as a “superbug,” this antimicrobial resistant bacterial infection has been coined “AMR” (Antimicrobial Resistance).

    May 19, 2014

  • Get educated about high blood pressure and eating better

    May is High Blood Pressure Education Month, and one in three Americans have it. High blood pressure (hypertension) is a leading risk factor for stroke. Hypertension is often referred to as the “silent killer” since you may feel no apparent symptoms. Yet, high blood pressure will cause damage to the blood vessels, brain and heart over time.

    May 13, 2014

  • Researchers: colon cleansing health benefits a myth

    Researchers have found that while colon cleansing has been around since ancient times, the health benefits are basically a myth.

    May 5, 2014

  • Prescription for Medical Nutrition Therapy

    Nutrition is a vital part of being well, and an even more important part to getting well (or healing). It’s a critical part of prevention, yet if I surveyed physicians or lay people, and asked them “Does diet therapy work?” chances are at least 70 percent of them would say “No.”

    April 21, 2014

Business Marquee
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide