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CSTE Partnerships That Lift Our Boat, and Others

Posted By Emily Holubowich, Sunday, April 19, 2015
Updated: Friday, April 17, 2015
Emily Holubowich, Senior Vice President at CRD Associates is CSTE’s Washington representative and leads our advocacy efforts in the nation’s capital. Emily also serves as the Executive Director of the Coalition for Health Funding and founding Co-Chair of the NDD United campaign, both of which CSTE supports.

A rising tide lifts all boats. This familiar phrase is especially true in the current political and fiscal environment, where macro policy decisions—made behind closed doors, by a handful of powerful lawmakers, in the eleventh hour—have dramatic effects on even the most micro policy priorities. Sequestration is probably the best example of this fact—or maybe, that a receding tide grounds all boats.

Between 2013-2021, sequestration’s harmful cuts shrink the amount of appropriated funding available for epidemiology, public health, and all core government functions by $1 trillion.

Between 2013-2021, sequestration’s harmful cuts shrink the amount of appropriated funding available for epidemiology, public health, and all core government functions by $1 trillion. During the last two years, we have experienced some temporary and partial sequestration relief, thanks to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 negotiated by Rep. Paul Ryan and Senator Patty Murray. But sequestration returns full bore in 2016, and unless Congress acts to stop it, overall funding levels for appropriated programs, such as public health, will be 17 percent less than they were in 2010, in real terms. Under this scenario, it will be difficult if not impossible for any boats to rise.

For information about sequestration and its effects,
click here
for a primer from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

When there’s more health funding to go around, the better the chances that our own health funding priorities—ELC grants, workforce development—do well, and vice versa (case in point: the elimination of $15 million in public health workforce funding in 2013 when sequestration first took effect). That’s why for many years CSTE has augmented our advocacy efforts to keep our own epi boat afloat by joining with our partners in the community to ensure a strong and sustained investment in health funding, writ large.

Celebrating its 45th year, the Coalition for Health Funding is the leading voice for a strong and sustained investment in the health continuum—from public health to health research and primary care services to health workforce. CSTE and 95 other national health organizations, including Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), and Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) among them, work through the Coalition to educate lawmakers about the value of health programs and the impact of funding cuts. In July 2014, CSTE contributed a story about the erosion of ELC funding for vector-borne disease surveillance to the Coalition’s report, Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Hurt America’s Health. The report was shared with and has been used by lawmakers, the administration, and the media. Our story and those of other Coalition partners are available at www.cutshurt.org.

CSTE also actively participates in the Coalition’s NDD United campaign, named by The Hill newspaper as one of the “Top 10 Lobbying Victories of 2013.” NDD United is an alliance of thousands of national, state, and local organizations working across sectors to stop sequestration and protect nondefense discretionary or “NDD” programs. NDD programs are core functions the government provides for the benefit of all Americans—benefits such as public health and education, housing and social services, infrastructure and transportation, science and law enforcement, veterans services and homeland security, energy and natural resources, etc. On February 18, CSTE joined 2,100 other organizations in signing a letter coordinated by NDD United, urging Congress to stop sequestration before it returns in 2016. A copy of the letter is available here.

CSTE will continue to advocate for an end to sequestration, and for a strong and sustained investment in the nation’s disease surveillance infrastructure. For more information about these and other efforts, please contact me at eholubowich@dc-crd.com.

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