Health Department: Sequester Hurts AIDS, Drug Programs
Baltimore City receives about $192 million in federal grants.
Dr. Oxiris Barbot, director of the Baltimore City Health Department, warns that Federal funding cuts associated with the sequester will have a dramatic impact on Baltimore HIV/AIDS and substance abuse programs.
These cuts include $1.6 million to agencies providing direct care, 2,500 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs and the loss of mental health funding for 200 residents, according to a news release.
"We are committed to minimizing the impact to direct services provided to the residents of Baltimore City and to maintaining our ability to protect the public’s health," Barbot said in a news release. "However, because much of the federal funding in question can only be used for direct services, this across-the-board cut will have a significant impact on our ability to protect the health of Baltimore residents."
The announcement about the possible impacts of the cuts on the health department comes a week after Stephanie Rawlings-Blake told city agencies to brace for cuts. The city receives about $192 million in federal grants, about 12 percent of the operating budget, according to the news release.
"Sequestration is a meat-cleaver approach to spending reduction with a real impact that will be felt by vulnerable families and children in Baltimore," said Rawlings-Blake said in the news release. "If Congress fails to take action, cuts to health programs—as well as those to public safety, housing, and education—will have an adverse effect on Baltimore and throughout the country."
But some think the city and its dependence on federal dollars are to blame for the inability to handle these spending cuts.
Nick Loffer, grass roots director for the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, said if Baltimore had pursued more business frinedly policies and lower taxes it would not be feeling the sting of these cuts so acutely.
"They should be focusing on policies that grow business and not relying on federal handouts," Loffer said.