I had the pleasure of attending the annual meeting of the Endowment for Health on March 4. In attendance were representatives from many important health organizations who work every day to make a healthier New Hampshire.
For me, as a somewhat newcomer to public health, I was inspired by the kind dedication demonstrated by the board of directors and supporters of the Endowment. This nonprofit foundation dedicates financial resources through grants that strengthen New Hampshire communities, particularly to populations under served and vulnerable. We know there are pockets of poverty in every community and many people, state wide, are lacking health care, access to services, good food, shelter, and health literacy-prevention programs. We want to succeed with the Affordable Care Act and we know funding is necessary to upgrade health infrastructure.
New Hampshire budgets are in peril by the sequestration, and issue of expanding Medicare. They are separate issues, yet each poses an uncertainty to those of us in health care. The stress of uncertainty has many wondering how to fill in budget cuts. Specifically, the $85 billion of sequestration cuts will reduce funding for treatment research on disease, such as for the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What affects them affects us as well. Further, the ability of New Hampshire to respond to public health emergencies will be weak. Indeed, the sequestration cuts will undermine many public health protections and initiatives. It is imperative that the Endowment for Health continue sustaining public health through philanthropic grants.
Given the state of the economy, reduced federal and state resources, public health initiatives are in need of public attention. The alternative is that of worsening poverty, more hungry children lacking nutrition, elderly uncared for, unattended in their homes without in-home services, or unattended in Homes stretched to the max by short staffing of nurses and aides.
This is not what New Hampshire residents want to see. If the Endowment could do it alone, how wonderful New Hampshire would be. It takes all of us working together to keep New Hampshire on track. Say yes to Medicare expansion and no to the arbitrary budget cuts that will hamper our growth, as well as our abilities to live, learn, and earn money for development and salaries for professionals, in a healthy, vibrant New Hampshire.