Cuts have consequences on health - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Cuts have consequences on health


Eau Claire (WQOW) - The federal sequester set to take place this Friday impacts everyone in some form or another and public health is no exception.

"Being protected from communicable disease, that impacts every person in our community.  So it's not something that we can just not care about," says Eau Claire City-County Public Health Director Lieske Giese.

With government grant money in the millions on the line some services that could be cut have an immediate impact.

"Pertussis (Whooping Cough) is a perfect example where we were really pushing hard to get kids that were not fully vaccinated, vaccinated using the federal vaccine that was available for us to do that for kids for free," says Giese.

But with no federal funding, "We have been told by CDC that they just won't be able to purchase that vaccine that is available to us then to vaccinate kids," says Giese.

In Wisconsin that's even more of a problem because the state doesn't provide much more in the way of funding to public health.

"Specifically Wisconsin is at the bottom for states that fund public health.  I think we're at 47th out of 50 states," says Giese.

Which trickles down to the county level quickly.

"We're also waiting to hear when the state receives their federal dollars they'll make decisions about what to do for county level funding," says Giese.

Without the funding, services could diminish and costs may climb.

"We know that if we prevent disease we save a whole lot of money and people's lives in the process.  So not to have the funding to do that really makes a difference," says Giese.

Another community health program facing cuts is the STOP Violence Against Women Grant which provides health and shelter services to victims of domestic or sexual violence.

Washington lawmakers have until Friday to reach an agreement and prevent national spending cuts.

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