Gazette opinion: Prepare now for disasters or pay more later

January 2, 2012
Billings Gazette


Prevention is a tough sell in hard times.

The logic of investing in public policies that will save money in the future — on health care or disaster response — is again getting lost in the battle to cut government spending.

As previously reported by The Gazette:

  • Over the past year, the federal government has reduced its funding of emergency preparedness grants for Montana hospitals.
  • Montana cut public health funding 7.5 percent over the past year.
  • Billings is among 51 cities nationwide in the federal Cities Readiness Initiative at risk for being eliminated from the program that would help with fast distribution of vaccines and medicine in an emergency.
  • Montana is one of 24 states at risk for losing the services of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemiology officers who assist local and state officials in the event of a communicable disease outbreak.
  • Federal funding for research and training for emergency preparedness is at risk of being zeroed out.



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