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As it improvises its way through a public health crisis, the United States has never been less prepared for a pandemic.
For the United States, the answers are especially worrying because the government has intentionally rendered itself incapable.In 2018, the Trump administration fired the government’s entire pandemic response chain of command, including the White House management infrastructure. In numerous phone calls and emails with key agencies across the U.S. government, the only consistent response I encountered was distressed confusion. If the United States still has a clear chain of command for pandemic response, the White House urgently needs to clarify what it is
If the United States still has a clear chain of command for pandemic response, the White House urgently needs to clarify what it is
—not just for the public but for the government itself, which largely finds itself in the dark.
When Ebola broke out in West Africa in 2014, President Barack Obama recognized that responding to the outbreak overseas, while also protecting Americans at home, involved multiple U.S. government departments and agencies, none of which were speaking to one another. Basically, the U.S. pandemic infrastructure was an enormous orchestra full of talented, egotistical players, each jockeying for solos and fame, refusing to rehearse, and demanding higher salaries—all without a conductor. To bring order and harmony to the chaos, rein in the agency egos, and create a coherent multiagency response overseas and on the homefront, Obama anointed a former vice presidential staffer, Ronald Klain, as a sort of “epidemic czar” inside the White House, clearly stipulated the roles and budgets of various agencies, and placed incident commanders in charge in each Ebola-hit country and inside the United States. The orchestra may have still had its off-key instruments, but it played the same tune.
In the spring of 2018, the White House pushed Congress to cut funding for Obama-era disease security programs, proposing to eliminate $252 million in previously committed resources for rebuilding health systems in Ebola-ravaged Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. Under fire from both sides of the aisle, President Donald Trump dropped the proposal to eliminate Ebola funds a month later. But other White House efforts included reducing $15 billion in national health spending and cutting the global disease-fighting operational budgets of the CDC, NSC, DHS, and HHS. And the government’s $30 million Complex Crises Fund was eliminated.
Bureaucracy matters. Without it, there’s nothing to coherently manage an alphabet soup of agencies housed in departments ranging from Defense to Commerce, Homeland Security to Health and Human Services (HHS).
The White House is expected to request funds from Congress this week—but its disorganized response, and past cuts, may have complicated efforts to tackle the crisis.
Even if Congress provides additional funding, there remain fears that the Trump administration has already hamstrung it’s ability to address this emergency. As Foreign Policy’s Laurie Garrett wrote last month, the administration has “intentionally rendered itself incapable” of dealing with a problem of this scale. It wiped out its “entire pandemic response chain of command, including the White House management infrastructure,” Garrett wrote, and shut down the National Security Council’s global health security team, as well as its counterpart in the Department of Homeland Security. In addition to proposing funding cuts for national and global health programs, the administration has also kneecapped its public health teams by declining to replace officials who have left. While the president established a Coronavirus Task Force led by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar last month, “it’s not clear how it will function,” Garrett noted—essentially forcing the administration to “[resort] to improvisation” in its approach to the crisis.
Trump administration wants to cut funding from public health preparedness programs
As the US health care system watches the ongoing coronavirus epidemic in China and braces for a potential local outbreak, President Trump is looking to cut funding for public health preparedness programs.
The administration’s proposed 2021 budget for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) cuts $25 million from the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response and $18 million from the Hospital Preparedness Program. The administration also asked for over $85 million in cuts to the Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases program.
“To be clear, these programs are already underfunded,” tweeted Nicolette Louissaint, executive director of Healthcare Ready, a nonprofit that works to make health care supply chains more resilient.
originally posted by: drewlander
a reply to: sine.nomine
Yes my dude. Now watch this very important news about Trumps food selections for his meeting with the leader of India.
In 2018, the Trump administration fired the government’s entire pandemic response chain of command, including the White House management infrastructure.
US preparedness to deal with the threat of coronavirus has been hampered by the personnel and budget cuts made by the Trump administration over the past three years, according to health experts.
There is no one in the White House tasked specifically to oversee a coordinated government-wide response in the event of a pandemic, since the post of senior director for global health security and biothreats on the national security council (NSC) was eliminated last May.
The office was established in 2016 after the outbreak of the Ebola virus in Africa demonstrated the US government was not set up to move with the speed and decisiveness necessary to react to a really lethal epidemic.
The White House global health “czar” was supposed to coordinate international, national, state and local organisations, public and private, to confront a global epidemic, backed by the direct authority of the president.
After he became national security adviser, John Bolton eliminated the office as part of an NSC reorganisation, as he did not see global health issues as a national security priority.
Description of Requirement
EMERGENCY RESPONSE SUPPORT SERVICES, (ERSS) FOR LAUNDRY, CUSTODIAL, MEALS AND TRASH SERVICE, ETC., AT BLDG 28, CENTER FOR DOMESTIC PREPAREDNESS (CDP) ANNISTON, AL 36205, IN SUPPORT OF THE CORONAVIRUS EMERGENCY RESPONSE.