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Editorials, Letter To Editor Urge U.S. Congress To Act, Fund Zika Response

New York Times: Congress’s Failure to Fund Zika Response
Editorial Board

“…Now, with mosquito season upon us, and despite evidence that a potentially calamitous health crisis could be around the corner, Congress has yet to provide money for a serious response [to Zika]. … Then, last week, the House approved $1.1 billion in Zika funding, but with restrictions that Senate Democrats found deeply objectionable. Under the bill, only public health departments and Medicaid-run clinics would receive Zika funds to provide contraception and maternal care. Private health centers, including Planned Parenthood, would be ineligible. … Given the urgency of the matter, it is not asking too much of House Speaker Paul Ryan and the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, to agree on a generous bill without unjustifiable restrictions. Allowing the crusade against Planned Parenthood to get in the way of protecting the public is inexcusable” (6/30).

New York Times: Letter to the Editor: Needed: Urgent Action to Fight Zika
Johan S. Bakken, president, Infectious Diseases Society of America

In response to a New York Times article published June 18, Bakken writes, “… The article makes clear that we are not prepared for the inevitable escalation of [Zika] cases this summer. Last February, President Obama sent Congress an emergency request for funding to combat Zika. Public health demands leadership in a time of such crisis. Congress must act” (6/29).

Wall Street Journal: The Zika Democrats
Editorial Board

“…After spending months demanding more funding to combat the Zika virus, [Senate Democrats] voted down their own priority to foment the chaos they believe will work to their political benefit in the fall. … Since microcephaly is a natal condition and Zika can be transmitted sexually, Democrats naturally conscripted ‘women’s health’ as a wedge. The bill makes block grants to hospitals, local health departments, and public insurance programs like Medicaid. Democrats objected because the bill does not specifically identify Planned Parenthood as a candidate for grants. … Even amid a public health crisis, Democrats think voters won’t care about the details and instead will punish the GOP for dysfunction in Washington” (6/28).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.