The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) failed to prevent and subsequently control the COVID-19 pandemic. As its mistakes before, during, and after the pandemic become more evident, the case for reform continues to intensify.

A new report Unauthorized and Unprepared: Refocusing the CDC after COVID-19, authored  by CEI Senior Fellow Joel Zinberg, details the reforms necessary for the CDC to be ready for the next public health crisis. The CDC has never been fully authorized by Congress and lacks goals, circumscribed powers, and effective oversight. His analysis shows that the lack of congressional purview has allowed the CDC to become a diffuse agency subject to mission creep with priorities far afield from its core mission of controlling and preventing communicable disease outbreaks. Zinberg proposes that Congress must comprehensively authorize the CDC and reaffirm the agency’s mission in order to restore public trust and prepare it for the next health crisis.

Please join CEI for a virtual briefing on CDC reform opportunities featuring keynote remarks from Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-01), and paper author Joel Zinberg. The event will be moderated by CEI Senior Government Affairs and Coalitions Manager Matthew Adams. 

Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks represents Iowa’s First District in Congress and serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and the House Oversight Committee’s Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. Rep. Miller-Meeks chairs the Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health, sits on the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, and is a co-chair of the Pandemic Preparedness Caucus. She served in the Army for 24 years as a nurse and doctor, achieving the rank of lieutenant colonel before retiring. She later went into private practice as an ophthalmologist, was Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, and was a member of the Iowa Senate from 2019 to 2021. First elected to Congress in 2020, Rep. Miller-Meeks has distinguished herself as a leader on health issues, most recently leading an initiative to solicit stakeholder feedback on how best to reform and improve the CDC. 

Joel M. Zinberg, M.D., J.D. is a senior fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute and director of the Public Health and American Well-Being Initiative at the Paragon Health Institute. He served from 2017 to 2019 as general counsel and senior economist at the Council of Economic Advisers in the Executive Office of the President. Dr. Zinberg practiced general and oncologic surgery in New York for nearly 30 years at the Mount Sinai Hospital and Icahn School of Medicine, where he is an Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery, and was president of the New York County Medical Society. He previously taught for 10 years at the Columbia Law School on medical-legal issues including creating a course on legal and policy issues in organ transplantation. 

Matthew Adams is the senior government affairs and coalitions manager at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. In this role, he develops CEI’s relationship with Congress, the White House, federal agencies, and allies. Matthew was previously a policy analyst at CEI, where he focused on financial services policy. Prior to joining CEI, he worked at the American Action Forum, Americans for Tax Reform, and the U.S. House of Representatives. Adams received his Bachelor of Arts in political science and history from American University in Washington, D.C.

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