Hillary Clinton voices support for electronic disease surveillance
By FRANK BUCKLEY/CNN
October 14, 1999
Web posted at: 9:56 a.m. EDT (1356 GMT)
ARMONK, N.Y. (CNN) -- First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday criticized House Republicans for "de-funding" a $65 million public health initiative backed by the president.
"Congressional Republicans should not be cutting programs like this that are making a down payment on our future health," said Mrs. Clinton of the National Electronic Disease Surveillance Network. Mrs. Clinton was in New York for the latest swing in an all-but-announced run for U.S. Senate.
The first lady's comments came as residents of New York City and surrounding communities dealt with an outbreak of a West Nile-like encephalitis virus that has killed six people.
President Bill Clinton's proposed network would create an electronic surveillance system that would link doctors, hospitals and health officials to alert them of outbreaks, according to a statement.
"By not funding this network," Mrs. Clinton said of House Republicans, "they are sending a message that we don't need to be prepared to deal with this kind of outbreak that we've seen here in the last several weeks or whatever else may come because of the globalization trend."
Mrs. Clinton also said, "We need to be as well prepared to defend ourselves against public health dangers as we should be to defend ourselves against any foreign dangers of any kind."