It’s Not Only About Healthcare!

The goal of the House Republicans’ repeal of “Obamacare” is to divert money from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to pay for tax cuts for wealthy Americans. The ACA covered not only health insurance provisions but also many other issues related to the health of Americans, especially public health.

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Food safety funding has been drastically reduced. John Auerbach, CEO of the Trust for America’s Health, reports: “If the bill eventually becomes law, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will lose 12 percent of its budget, of which a significant portion—$625 million a year—goes directly to state and local health departments.” (Source: House ACA Replacement will Cripple the Nation’s Health, Trust for America’s Health Statement, May 4, 2017).

 

CDC estimates that each year roughly 48 million people gets sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die. The 2011 estimates provide the most accurate picture of which foodborne bacteria, viruses, microbes (“pathogens”) are causing the most illnesses in the United States. According to the 2011 estimates, the most common foodborne illnesses are caused by norovirus and by the bacteria Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens, and Campylobacter. Source: CDC Website

The state and local health departments are the front line protecting Americans from foodborne illness to Zika virus infections. Their budgets need to be greatly increased, not decreased.

Snippets …

writing2Last year, melting permafrost in Siberia released a strain of anthrax, which had been sealed in a frozen reindeer carcass, sickening 100 people and killing one child. In July 2015, during the hottest month ever recorded on earth (until the following year), and the hottest day ever recorded in England (until the following summer), the Guardian newspaper had to shut down its live-blogging of the heat wave when the servers overheated.

The New York Times Magazine, April 19, 2017. Our Climate Future is Actually Our Climate Present by Jon Mooallem.

An immense river that flowed from one of Canada’s largest glaciers vanished over the course of four days last year, scientists have reported, in an unsettling illustration of how global warming dramatically changes the world’s geography.

The Guardian, April 17, 2017. Receding Glacier Causes Immense Canadian River to Vanish in Four Days by Hannah Devlin.

Over the last eight years, food policy has gone from being a topic for industry insiders and wonks, to a regular staple on mainstream America’s menu of interests.

Case in point: A plurality of Americans now believe healthy food should be more affordable, farm subsidies should be used to grow that healthy food, farming should happen in harmony with the environment, and food system workers should be treated—and paid—fairly.

By most any measure, the prospects for advancing a progressive food and agriculture agenda now seem grim. But all is not entirely lost, and some advocates are working to create a national food strategy—a centralized list of federal policies, priorities, and principles to guide our nation’s food system.

Civil Eats, April 18, 2017. In Trump’s America, Navigating a Path for a Progressive National Food Strategy by Steve Holt.