The president’s habit of speaking out of both sides of his mouth reared its ugly head in the midst of the measles outbreak, this week.
Obama is advising people to vaccinate their kids — while calling for a $50 million cut in an immunization program in his 2016 budget proposal.
So far this year, there have been 102 cases of measles reported across 14 states. There were 644 cases of measles reported in all of 2014.
This year’s pace is striking: One month into the new year, the number of measles cases is nearly one-sixth of last year’s total.
A closer look makes this year’s measles outbreak look even worse. Last year’s 644 measles cases is an outlier compared to the previous decade. The number of measles cases in 2014 was the highest since 2000.
Between 2001 and 2011, the median number of measles cases reported per year was 62. (During that period, the highest number of cases in a single year was 220, and the lowest was 37).
On Sunday, Obama took a reasonable approach when he said, “I understand that there are families that, in some cases, are concerned about the effect of vaccinations. The science, is you know, pretty indisputable. We’ve looked at this again and again. There is every reason to get vaccinated, but there aren’t reasons to not.”
Whether or not you agree with his contention that the science is “indisputable,” his own 2016 budget proposal disputes the notion that making sure children are immunized is a high priority for this president.
The budget, released on Monday, proposes a cut in the funding for the 317 Immunization Program from $611 million in 2015 to $561 million in 2016. The federally funded program provides vaccines at no cost to children and adolescents who are either Medicaid-eligible, uninsured, underinsured or American Indian or Alaska Native. Essentially, it provides childhood immunization for families who would normally be unable to pay for it.
So the message from the president is clear – vaccinate your kids! But if it’s a financial hardship for you – don’t expect the government to help. How progressive of him.