Sequestration Fast Facts

Fast Facts on Sequestration’s Impact on Public Health

Compiled November 2012

CDC funding holds together a fragile nationwide network of front-line public health responders; sequester would make all Americans less safe, increase preventable illness, and increase healthcare costs. Virtually every state and community in the United States would be at higher public health risk from natural or terrorist threats, and the ability to stop deadly outbreaks would be undermined…The time it takes to deliver medical countermeasures after an attack or natural disaster will increase.
– The Coalition for Health Funding

More than 750,000 mothers and infants will be cut from WIC.
– Friends of Maternal and Child Health and the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs

The time to identify and appropriately treat victims of a chemical attack would double from five days to up to two weeks, increasing suffering and death, as support is eliminated for laboratories, which can diagnose and help doctors treat patients. The uncertainty resulting from this delay would have significant consequences in national security and economic stability.
– The Coalition for Health Funding  

Prenatal participation in WIC has been demonstrated to save health care dollars:
– Preterm births cost the U.S. over $26 billion a year.
– The average first year medical costs for a premature/low birth-weight baby is $49,033 compared to $4,551 for a baby without complications.
– WIC prenatal care benefits reduce the rate of low birth-weight babies by 25 percent and very low birth-weight babies by 44 percent.
– Every dollar spent on pregnant women in WIC produces $1.92 to $4.21 in Medicaid savings for newborns and their mothers.
– National WIC Association

Funding reductions would cut federal support for 2,500 specialized disease detectives in state and local health departments; outbreaks of foodborne disease, meningitis, pneumonia, and other conditions would be investigated and stopped more slowly or not at all. An estimated 150 fewer foodborne outbreaks would be identified and stopped promptly. A single outbreak can cost millions of dollars in healthcare and productivity losses, send hundreds of people to hospitals, and kill children and adults.
– The Coalition for Health Funding  

Life-saving immunizations would be denied to children and adults. Approximately 840,000 fewer vaccines would be made available, increasing the risk of preventable outbreaks.
– Public health programs that protect the U.S. population by reducing vaccination disparities would be cut.
– Between 210,000 and 840,000 children and adults would be denied life-saving vaccines that prevent hepatitis B, influenza, measles, and pertussis outbreaks.
– The Coalition for Health Funding

Approximately 659,000 individuals in the U.S. will not be tested for HIV due to the reduction in the availability of HIV tests and prevention. Moreover, cuts to the program that provides life-saving medications that treat HIV disease in people who are uninsured, the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, will result in 12,219 people losing access to these medications. “Research has shown that HIV medication reduces ability to pass on the virus to others. Thus, a strong treatment program is essential to stopping the transmission of HIV and AIDS.
– "Under Threat: Sequestration’s Impact on Nondefense Jobs and Services,” Senate report by Sen. Tom Harkin.

Fifty thousand fewer women would be screened for breast and cervical cancer, resulting in 800 fewer cancers detected early.
– The Coalition for Health Funding

Conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, asthma, and arthritis account for an estimated 75 percent of annual healthcare costs in the U.S. ($2.5 trillion per year) would continue to increase unabated. Federal and state capacity to combat and prevent the major health problems facing the U.S. would be dismantled and hundreds of jobs would be lost. Program reductions will result in stagnation or reversal of recent progress in preventing or delaying the onset of these chronic diseases and associated reductions in death and disability from cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other conditions.


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