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New York City has been and remains the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis, and protecting the city’s public health infrastructure has never been more important. Unfortunately, the State budget includes proposals that could deeply damage the city’s ability to provide health services to communities, particularly those disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Please join us in urging State leaders to reverse cuts to NYC’s public health services.
New York’s array of public health programs – provided through both the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and through community-based organizations – are essential for preventing illness, chronic disease, and premature death. Yet even before the pandemic, too many New Yorkers faced significant barriers to accessing these services, contributing to the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on Black, Latinx, and immigrant New Yorkers.
This should be a time to address long-standing and systemic inequities in access to healthcare services, yet the Governor’s budget actually proposes cutting existing public health funds. The Governor’s Executive Budget proposes to cut State reimbursement for New York City’s Article VI General Public Health Works program by 10%, on top of a 20% cut that was implemented in the previous two years. The result is tens of millions in cuts to public health in the middle of a public health crisis.
The Article VI General Public Health Works program supports a broad range of services that are heavily accessed and relied on in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic – including communities of color, Indigenous New Yorkers, and immigrant households, as well as people with disabilities and those suffering from chronic illness impacting their physical and mental well-being.
Cuts to Article VI impact programs providing immunizations; tuberculosis outreach, education and testing; and sexual reproductive health. They also impact community-based preventive services addressing maternal and child health; mental health; substance addictions; chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular diseases, and many more.
In addition, the Governor’s Executive Budget proposes to cut funding supporting safety-net hospitals serving New Yorkers on Medicaid or who are uninsured and to eliminate the State share of the Indigent Care Pool (ICP), which includes State funding for public hospitals.
Join us in calling on State officials to restore cuts to City public health services and ensure that already suffering New Yorkers do not bear the burden of additional cuts to preventive health care and treatment.