Montgomery County, Md., Minority Health Advocacy Groups Protest Proposed Health Program Spending Cuts
A group of minority community leaders in Montgomery County, Md., on Thursday gathered at the County Council to protest a proposed 10% budget cut to minority health programs, the Washington Post reports. According to the group, the proposal by the council's Health and Human Services Committee would affect 16,000 people who receive services for diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and HIV/AIDS. In addition, the proposal would affect a program that provides breast pumps to low-income women (Marimow, Washington Post, 5/8).
Council member Roger Berliner (D) recommended the 10% cut to fund an expansion to the county's STI/HIV Clinic and the Tuberculosis and Immunization programs, which are funded through the county's Health and Human Services budget. County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) has already proposed cutting the program budgets by 2%. The group leaders called the additional 10% cut "shocking," according to the Montgomery County Gazette.
Diego Uriburu, a steering committee member of the Latino Health Initiative, said cutting the additional funding from initiatives that target black, Hispanic and Asian communities "shows a lack of understanding in what the (programs) actually do and what the communities go through." Uriburu and leaders from other groups submitted a 400-signature petition to the council opposing the additional cut. The council is scheduled to vote on the health and human services budget on Monday (Davis, Montgomery County Gazette, 5/7).