Article from For Liberty by Norm Leahy.

The Centers for Disease Control is back in the spotlight, this time from reformers who want to put the agency back in the business of fighting diseases, rather than expanding its bureaucratic reach.

A report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute notes the CDC was originally called the “Communicable Disease Center,” and it “arose out of federal efforts to control malaria, a mosquito-borne illness that posed a hazard to the World War II efforts in southern states.”

In the decades since then, the CDC has become like other federal agencies: bloated and costly

In addition to infectious illnesses like malaria, HIV, and influenza, CDC also maintains projects on alcohol consumption, tobacco use, traffic accidents, sports injuries, domestic violence, and gun control. These things can impact an individual’s health and wellness, of course, but they are far afield from the CDC’s original purpose of preventing the spread of dangerous pathogens.

The report says the CDC has increasingly devoted time and resources to issues only tangentially related to disease control. The result is an agency that stumbled badly when the coronavirus pandemic reaches the U.S.

Fixing the CDC doesn’t require more money, the report says, but instead, congressional action that strips away the agency’s side gigs and “recommits [the CDC’s] attention to the issue for which it was founded: infectious disease.”

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