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Officials long warned funding cuts would leave California vulnerable to pandemic. No one listened

The Los Angeles Times interviewed Dr. Jonathan Fielding, distinguished professor of health policy and management at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, on the impact of federal budget cuts to the pandemic fight.

Friday, March 20, 2020

California public health officials have repeatedly warned over the last decade that federal budget cuts were weakening their ability to respond to a widespread health crisis like the current coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the warnings, elected leaders cut millions of dollars in federal grants and other funding to California state and county health agencies, reducing the number of medical workers, including epidemiologists, and jeopardizing the ability to do lab tests and quickly set up mobile hospitals, according to interviews and records reviewed by The Times.

The budget woes have left California desperate for more resources, including test kits and hospital beds.