Tag Archives: federal spending

Covering oversight of federal government pandemic spending

NY National Guard staffing a mobile testing center

PHOTO: The National Guard via Flickr

The pandemic laid bare the woeful underfunding of the nation’s public health system as states and localities continue to struggle to provide timely testing, contact tracing, clear guidance to the public and reach vulnerable and underserved communities.

Though the pace of vaccinations has picked up considerably in the past month, the paucity of staff and resources at state and local health departments has meant that many public health departments could not get vaccines into the arms of the public as quickly as hoped, given the continued spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Continue reading

Federal funding of migrant health clinics under fire

Kaiser Health News’ Phil Galewitz spotlights a 50-year-old federal effort to provide health care to migrant farmworkers, one which provides funds to 156 health centers (list) throughout the country. There are 13 each in Texas and Florida and 27 in California, and in 2010 the government contributed $166 million to the care of about 900,000 migrant and seasonal laborers. “Such clinics,” Galewitz writes, “have become the latest flash points in the national immigration debate.”

Health center officials across the country describe how local, state and national law enforcement authorities have staked out migrant clinics, detained staff members transporting patients to medical appointments and set up roadblocks near their facilities and health fairs as part of immigration crackdowns.

Proponents say the clinics help ensure the health of the people most responsible for the handling and production of the American food supply, while conservative groups argue that the federal government shouldn’t be providing benefits for illegal immigrants, a group that makes up about half of the 3 million-strong migrant farm labor force.

Federal document provides info, ideas in 20 areas

AHCJ member Eileen Beal suggests that people doing social service writing might be interested in the federal government’s Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance. The comprehensive 2,205-page list of federal assistance programs covers 20 broad categories, including health, food and nutrition, and science and technology.

Every level of federal assistance, from the state-level subsidies to individual grants, is included. Journalists can find lists of new or discontinued programs as well as descriptions of each. For example, the federal government is no longer funding “Project Grants for Facilities to Improve the Health Status of Minority Populations” or “Child Care Provider Loan Forgiveness Demonstration.”

It’s a fantastic place to find out things like what are ‘Public Awareness Campaigns on Embryo Adoption’ and why was $1.5 million spent on them in 2007? Once you learn to navigate the epic document, it becomes a convenient place to find, for example, funding, requirements, budgets and more for every Health and Human Services benefit program.