Resolve to Save Lives

Health Defense Operations (HDO)

Increased, sustained, predictable base funding for public health security defense programs that prevent, detect and respond to outbreaks like COVID-19 or pandemic influenza

Rendering of the 2019-nCoV virion. Dan Higgins, MAM/CDC/REUTERS

We applaud Congress for the quick response to COVID-19 by providing critical emergency supplemental funding during the pandemic. These investments are necessary to fund the robust response to this health crisis. We believe it is crucial that these investments are leveraged to ensure we are better prepared moving forward.

However, supplemental appropriations are by their nature temporary. While we believe that there will be a day when we emerge from COVID-19 with safe and effective treatments, we know that this will not be the last infectious disease outbreak.

We must ensure that the investments made in our core public health infrastructure and health security programs are maintained and used to prevent the next pandemic. Future health and economic security can best be protected by changing the way we allocate funds to protect us all from health threats. We have seen the limitations that caps and sequestrations cause for discretionary funding. We have seen that even mandatory funding doesn’t ensure stable support as those funds are often siphoned off during calm periods when outbreaks are out of the news.

We propose a new approach for specific public health programs that are critical to prevent, detect, and respond to health threats. We call this the Health Defense Operations (HDO) budget designation, and it would exempt critical health protection funding from the spending caps so our public health agencies can protect us.