Public health advocates are sounding the alarm over five million dollars in cuts to the state health department announced by Governor Mitt Romney last week. The cuts are part of a $425 million reduction in spending that Romney says is necessary to balance the budget.
The cuts to the Department of Public Health include three quarters of a million for HIV/Aids programs, a million to public health hospitals that serve the indigent, and $300,000 to school-based health programs.
Geoff Wilkinson of the Massachusetts Public Health Association, an advocacy group, says cuts to immunization programs mean that 30,000 fewer seniors will get a vaccine to prevent pneumonia.
Wilkinson says, "These are treatment programs. These are not long-term prevention. So people are going to be suffering as a result now. We will have extra deaths and extra unnecessary hospitalizations of seniors contracting pneumonia as a result of seniors not getting the Pneumococcal vaccine."
The cuts come part way through the fiscal year, so their impact will have to be absorbed in the next six months.
(Click the link below to see an itemization of Governor Mitt Romney's budget cuts.)
This program aired on November 22, 2006. The audio for this program is not available.