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CDC director denies report of 'banned words' in budget documents

18 Décembre 2017

As we previously reported, the list was reportedly revealed at a meeting with senior agency officials.

The CCD official, however, added that she did not know if there was a particular prohibition on the usage of specific words in the budget documents. Both staff members spoke under the condition of anonymity.

Officials at a second agency were also reportedly told to use "Obamacare" instead of the Affordable Care Act to describe President Barack Obama's 2010 healthcare law and to use "exchanges" instead of "marketplaces" in reference to venues where people can buy federally subsidized health insurance.

"People were surprised, people were not thrilled", an HHS official told the newspaper. On Sunday, in a series of tweets, CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald asserted that "there are no banned words at CDC".

"As part of our commitment to provide for the common defense of the country against health threats, science is and will remain the foundation of our work", Fitzgerald wrote.

For decades, the CDC has had an impeccable reputation when it comes to responding to infectious disease outbreaks, like Ebola and Zika, as well as studying, tracking, and treating health situations of all sorts, both within the United States and outside of it.

For decades, the agency has had a mostly sterling reputation as a source of scientific information.

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The American Association for the Advancement of Science didn't mince words, either. It is not what we expect to see in a democracy, and such policies-whether they are formal or informal-harm public health.

"If you are saying you can not use words like "transgender" and 'diversity, ' it's a clear statement that you can not pay attention to these issues". She said she was informed of the meeting but she was not there, and did not know who made the language suggestions. The Office of Management and Budget receives proposals from federal agencies for the president's 2019 budget and has a final say on what is included. It was restored after an outcry by advocates for the LGBT community.

But another federal official called it a mischaracterization to say certain words have been banned. "HHS also strongly encourages the use of outcome and evidence data in program evaluations and budget decisions", he said.

An HHS official did not respond to any additional questions. The CDC is in an equally delicate position, as the White House and some Republican lawmakers have proposed dramatic reductions to the agency's $7bn discretionary budget. "I have a deep sympathy for the predicament that they are in", Dr. Galea said.

"Among the words forbidden to be used in CDC budget documents are "evidence-based" and 'science-based.' I suppose one must not think those things either".

The phrases include "vulnerable", "entitlement", "diversity", "transgender", "fetus", "evidence-based" and "science-based". The term refers to a goal of removing obstacles like poverty and racial discrimination in making sure people have an equal chance to be healthy.

News of the ban on certain words hasn't yet spread to the broader group of scientists at the CDC, but it's likely to provoke a backlash, the analyst said. "Everybody's afraid to do their job right now", he said.