To the editor:
Congress has difficult decisions to make to confront the looming economic crisis. This is a moment when lawmakers should be looking for solutions that invest in the long-term growth and health of this country. Investing in disease prevention is one such solution.
If Congress lets mandatory spending cuts take effect Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would suffer significant setbacks. The reduction in funding would force the CDC to cut support for live-saving programs in every state that give low-income people access to critical cancer screenings. It would also mean increased health care costs in the long run.
In fact, the estimated 5 percent funding cut to the CDC would mean 32,000 fewer cancer screenings nationally and 850 fewer breast and cervical cancer screenings in Ohio for low-income and uninsured women. These cuts would hurt the nation's public health system and limit access to life-saving mammograms and Pap tests.
The fight over the budget is not just about balancing the country's financial books - it's about making smart choices for the future. Making blunt cuts to life-saving prevention programs that have been proven to reduce breast and cervical cancer is not the answer. Congress should be finding ways to invest in programs that work to save lives and ultimately reduce health care costs.
Barbara J. Wilinski
Volunteer, American Cancer