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Opinion: "Cuts to COVID Relief Programs are Coming. Once Again Latinos Will Bear the Brunt of the Effect"

The Los Angeles Times published a commentary by Dr. Arturo Vargas Bustamante, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, on the costs of Congressional inaction on further pandemic response funding

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Date: 
Friday, March 25, 2022
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Last week President Biden signed a new government spending bill into law. The roughly $22.5 billion for emergency funding for COVID-19 response efforts that the White House had requested was not included in the bill.

That was removed after congressional Republicans pushed back on spending more on COVID relief, saying they needed to better understand how the money already allocated to those efforts has been spent thus far. The cutbacks will affect, among other programs, payments to treat and vaccinate people without insurance, as well as the purchase and shipment of monoclonal antibody treatments. As has been true throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the people likely to suffer most from these changes to COVID relief programs are communities of color, especially Latinos.

Even without the cuts to COVID spending by the government, it is important to determine what policy responses are needed federally and in California to address the health inequities Latinos and other people of color face, all of which were made worse by the pandemic. We need to prevent these injustices from reoccurring should there be a new COVID-19 surge, or in the inevitable case of a new pandemic.

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