February 15, 2006- Statement on the Administration's FY07 Health Care Priorities

Earlier this month President signed off on $50 billion dollars in program cuts that that will make poor people pay more for their health care so that the Republicans can give more tax cuts to wealthy Americans.

Now, less than a month later, the President is at it again. His new budget proposes to:
• Cut funding for research at 18 of the 19 institutes at National Institutes of Health and eliminate 656 research project grants,
• Cut funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by $367 million;
• Eliminate the Preventive Health Block Grant which provides grants to states for preventive health services for underserved populations;
• Cut Medicare by $105 billion over 10 years and
• Cut Medicaid by $43 billion over 10 years.

And all these cuts are on top of the President’s proposals to expand tax breaks for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) which according to an MIT study released today will actually increase the number of uninsured in our country by 600,000.

If you think about our nation’s healthcare system as a ship at sea, we all have reason to be concerned about the course that the White house has charted for it.

We need RESEARCH to power the ship, but the White House has proposed cutting Research, leaving her without adequate power.

We need PREVENTION to steer the ship out of trouble, but the White House has proposed cutting Prevention, allowing the ship to drift towards the rocks.

We need to be able to deal with emergencies through TREATMENT when it is needed, yet it seems that the White House has set the ship adrift without adequate life preservers and life boats just as this “ship-without-sails” starts taking on water.

I am afraid that if we don’t change course, the budget cuts to research at NIH, to prevention at CDC and to treatment through Medicare and Medicaid will leave millions of passengers – the most vulnerable among us, the sick, the poor and the elderly – floundering in a sea of trouble.