TRUMP TO GUT CDC BUDGET, CUTS NEARLY $1 BILLION IN FUNDING FROM DISEASE-FIGHTING AGENCY

The Republican health care plan moving through the U.S. House of Representatives guts a little-known fund that provides Georgia some $20 million a year, for things like immunization programs, preventing heart disease and strokes, and responding to public health crises.

The loss of the federal Prevention and Public Health Fund would deal a $891 million blow to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a major employer in the metro region. While the CDC sends the majority of that money to state health agencies around the country, the federal agency itself uses about $265 million. Used to fight Zika, Ebola and influenza, the money also pays for staff salaries and programs to stem obesity and smoking.

“If this funding is lost, Americans will be at greater risk from vaccine-preventable disease, food borne infections, lead poisoning, cancer, stroke, heart disease, and deadly infections contracted in hospitals,” said Tom Frieden, the CDC chief who recently left the post.

The state Department of Public Health receives $14.7 million a year from the prevention fund. The majority is used to support immunizations and the prevention of strokes, diabetes and tobacco use. The remainder is used to support staff and operating costs.

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