Maternal and Child Health Advocates are Making a Difference!
On Feb. 11, 2011, leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives released a revised Continuing Resolution—now officially titled H.R. 1—containing even deeper proposed cuts to the fiscal year 2011 budget.
It's a grim budget, but the quick response of committed maternal and child health advocates appears to be making a difference: in one of the few bright spots, the revised bill released reduced the proposed cut to the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant from the original proposal of $210 million down to $50 million.
On behalf of the millions of women, children and families served by Title V Maternal and Child Health Programs nationwide we offer our sincere thanks for your efforts and ask that you keep advocating to protect vital programs!
But our work isn't over yet. There is much uncertainty about what happens next and things are changing daily. The $50 million cut would still be a painful reduction, other important health programs are also on the chopping block and critical programs are by no means out of danger for further cuts.
What Happens Next?
House leaders intend to bring the bill to the floor the week of February 14 and allow amendments. We expect some of these amendments could seek further reductions to MCH programs, impose across the board cuts, and possibly target Title V for elimination. We all need to be extra vigilant as this process continues and share updates and action alerts as needed.'
Make Your Voice Heard
In short, we still need your help. AMCHP is urging its members and friends to please continue making calls to elected officials explaining the serious consequences of a $50 million reduction. You can use this text from AMCHP to guide your message:
- I am calling in strong opposition to the proposed $210 million cut to the Title V MCH Block Grant included in the revised House continuing resolution. $210 million is a 32% cut to an effective, important, and vital program in our state.
- Cuts this deep will devastate state and local programs serving women, babies, children, and children with special health care needs in our state.
- This cut is counter-productive because health issues that we don’t prevent or detect early through this program now will ultimately cost us all more later. For example, the average cost of a premature baby is $58,000 - it makes no sense to cut programs that work to prevent maternal and child health issues like prematurity that will save us money in the future.
- Please tell (Your Representative’s/Senator’s name) that we should not balance the budget on the backs of babies and our nation’s most vulnerable.
For more information on Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant, visit www.amchp.org.
Michael Fraser, PhD, CAE, is Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP.) AMCHP’s mission is to support state maternal and child health programs and provide national leadership on issues affecting women and children.