How Not to Prepare for a Pandemic: Can We Learn From Public Health Budgetary Neglect?

Neglecting public health in state budgets for more than 10 years created an environment that was ill-suited to deal with the challenges of COVID-19 as well as other issues. On this episode of Managed Care Cast, we speak with one of the authors of a recent paper that examined state funding trends from 2008 to 2018 and discuss what could be done in the future to avoid past mistakes.

For the second year running, the public health community has marked Public Health Week in the midst of a continuing pandemic, one which exposed glaring weaknesses in the United States’ ability to cope with COVID-19 on top of other existing public health issues, a population beset with chronic illnesses, and stark inequities in a fragmented health care system. In an article published this month in Health Affairs, researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, and the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University took a close look at state spending in 8 categories of public health spending during an 11-year period to understand the extent to which funding has not kept up with pressing and emerging issues.

The stagnation in public health spending occurred during a time of rising mortality in the United States and funding, which was cut during the Great Recession, was not restored. On this episode of Managed Care Cast, we speak with Beth Resnick, DrPH, MPH, a coauthor of the study and a senior scientist in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Johns Hopkins, where she is also the assistant dean for Public Health Practice and Training.

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