Recession Endangers Emergency Response Plans

Report cites progress but warns of state budget cuts
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2010 12:59 PM CST
In this Oct. 30, 2001, file photo, members of the Marine Corps' Chemical-Biological Incident Response Force demonstrate anthrax clean-up techniques.   (AP Photo/Kenneth Lambert, File)

(Newser) – States are more prepared than ever to respond to public emergencies, but the recession is putting all those gains at risk, an annual assessment warns. The report from Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation gives states their highest marks since the report's inception in the wake of 9/11 in how prepared they are to deal with anything from a disease outbreak to a natural disaster to a bioterror attack, reports WebMD.

But it also notes that 33 states cut funds devoted to public health in 2010, and it was the second straight year for most. "Quite simply, the combined federal, state, and local cuts constitute an emergency for emergency health preparedness in the United States," writes Jeffrey Levi of Trust for America's Health. "This is not a funding wolf cry," he insists at the Huffington Post. "We're beginning the slide back to the pre-September 11 world." The full report is here.

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