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Federal Underfunding of Public Health Cutting into Oklahoma Efforts

Trust for America's Health

Oklahoma spent almost $172 million on public health in fiscal year 2019 — up 12% from the year before — but cuts at the federal level are undermining progress.

Trust for America’s Health Executive Vice President and COO Nadine Gracia said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s overall funding has been essentially flat since 2011, and its $2 billion a year public health grant fund is getting less than half its intended funding from Congress.

"The federal government provides about 55% of funding for public health programs at the state and local level. And so, when you see the reductions happening at the federal level, it has a domino effect," Gracia said.

Gracia said when you take away recent emergency allocations from the federal government to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, the public health funding shortage is severe.

"There’s actually a $4.5 billion gap in public health funding each year to really meet the foundational capabilities that the public health system needs," Gracia said.

Oklahoma received nearly $103 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in fiscal year 2019, with less than $8 million for public health preparedness and response.

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