CDC Director Julie Gerberding’s draft testimony to be presented before a Senate committee was “eviscerated” by the Office of Management and Budget according to an AP story by Josef Hebert (hat tip MF). The missing pieces related to the potential health impacts of climate change:
Her testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee had much less information on health risks than a much longer draft version Gerberding submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review in advance of her appearance.
“It was eviscerated,” said a CDC official, familiar with both versions, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the review process.
The official said that while it is customary for testimony to be changed in a White House review, these changes were particularly “heavy-handed,” with the document cut from its original 14 pages to four. It was six pages as presented to the Senate committee. (AP)
The original version had been routinely circulated to other health groups. It included estimates on how many people might be adversely affected by climate change, what diseases might be made worse and an indication of the scientific basis and reasoning for the statements. Gerberding was able to make some of the missing points in response to questions but the Senators on the Committee had not seen the earlier draft and weren’t able to bring out everything or have it presented in a coherent and connected manner. Nevertheless CDC spokesthing Tom Skinner brushed off the incident:
“What needed to be said as far we’re concerned was said,” said Skinner in a telephone interview from Atlanta. “She certainly communicated with the committee everything she felt was critical to help them appreciate and understand all the issues surrounding climate change and its potential impact on public health.”
There is nothing surprising about this, so it is hard to know why Gerberding was surprised. This is standard operating procedure for the Bush administration. What is surprising is why Dr. Gerberding keeps taking this. There comes a time when you have to say, “Enough. I am a pubolic health professional. I can’t do my job any more. I quit.”
Apparently that time has not yet come for Dr.Gerberding. One wonders if it will ever come.