Spending on public health in the United States continues to drop; HHS rules to remove protections on transgender people and women seeking abortions; can additional pandemic-related shutdowns be avoided?
In a piece by Kaiser Health News, health experts highlight the struggle in lobbying for greater public health funding in the United States. The financial disparity between those in public health and health industry groups was cited as a major factor in the lack of support by lawmakers for public health funding and why it is often included in state budget cuts. Over the past decade, for example, budget spending in California for state and county public health programs has declined, with counties now facing a $1.7-billion loss in public health dollars due to a decrease in sales tax revenue and vehicle license fees caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Last Friday, HHS issued a rule that would eschew antidiscrimination protections under the Affordable Care Act for transgender people and women seeking abortions. Reported by Reuters, the move has drawn criticism from Democratic lawmakers as the Trump administration seeks to reverse protections for the LGBTQ community initially passed during the Obama administration. Notably, the Human Rights Campaign said it plans to sue the Trump administration for surpassing their legal authority and trying to take away basic health care protections from vulnerable populations, such as LGBTQ people.
With states nationwide seeing a resurgence in cases of COVID-19, an article from CNN discusses the potential of another wave of state government shutdowns and how it can be avoided. Second shutdowns have already occurred in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan, all locations said to have eased restrictions too early. In the United States, suggestions to state governments working to avoid the spread of the virus include increased social distancing measures, wearing of masks, and avoiding crowded areas.