HHS details $2.5 billion in cuts for rest of the year

The Department of Health and Human Services on Monday released new details regarding more than $2.5 billion in cuts agreed to last month, including a $48 million reduction in spending on pediatrician training and $740 million less for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Democrats and Republicans agreed to almost $40 billion in cuts over last year's spending levels as part of their deal to keep the government open through Sept. 30. The continuing resolution left the details up to individual agencies, however.

The cuts were immediately decried by various stakeholders.

Three trade groups representing pediatricians and children's hospitals warned that the $48 million cut to the Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education Payment program represents about 450 pediatric resident slots. President Obama has recommended ending the $330 million a year program as part of his 2012 budget, but bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the program has been introduced in both chambers.

"CHGME is a vital investment in children's health care," said Lawrence McAndrews, president and CEO of the National Association of Children's Hospitals. "A loss of $48 million turns back the clock on the program by nearly 10 years in terms of federal support. More importantly, it could heighten a pediatric workforce crisis impacting the medical care for generations of our children."

Meanwhile, the Trust for America's Health decried an 11 percent — or $740 million — cut to the CDC. The group particularly objects to the $96 million cut to state and local Preparedness and Response for health emergencies.

"These cuts are truly devastating to the health of Americans," said executive director Jeff Levi. "The American people will now see the consequences of the budget cuts agreed to as part of the Continuing Resolution for fiscal year (FY) 2011. … In one stroke of the pen, the cuts could erase a decade of advances we've made in preventing diseases and preparing for health emergencies."