Obama calls for $6 billion to combat Ebola

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The Obama administration asked Congress for $6.18 billion in emergency funds to help combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and to bolster protection from the disease in the United States, according to a report published in MedPage Today.

The administration would designate $4.64 billion for immediate needs and $1.54 billion in contingency funding. The money would continue to fight against the epidemic which remains uncontrolled in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The funds would also increased domestic preparedness and be used to develop vaccines and therapies. President Obama also said that some of the money would go towards preventing outbreaks in vulnerable countries.

In a telephone briefing, administration officials reported that both parties in Congress seem willing to support the funding.

However, Lawrence Gostin, JD, an expert in global health law at Georgetown University, believes it could be difficult to get the emergency response budget through Congress, especially if members push for changes in public policy.

Last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Gostin and colleagues wrote that the Ebola crisis had exposed weaknesses in both the U.S. public health system and international health systems.

"Ebola has taught us so many lessons, but unless Congress authorizes this funding we will have missed a pivotal moment for the public's health," Gostin said. "Unless we significantly buttress the nation's health infrastructure, we will be just as unprepared for the next novel disease as we were for Ebola."

The Obama administration has asked Congress for $6 billion to combat Ebola.
The Obama administration has asked Congress for $6 billion to combat Ebola.

The administration is asking Congress for more than $6 billion in emergency funds to battle Ebola in West Africa and to ramp up protection of Americans at home.

The request includes $4.64 billion for immediate needs and $1.54 billion in contingency funding "to ensure there are resources available to respond to this evolving epidemic both domestically and internationally," President Obama said in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner.

"My foremost priority is to protect the health and safety of Americans, and this request supports all necessary steps to fortify our domestic health system and prevent any outbreaks at home," Obama wrote.

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