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Blank check a bad idea

Just a few weeks ago, the World Health Organization estimated it would cost $1 billion to control the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. President Barack Obama wants Congress to provide $6.2 billion to battle the disease.

The White House proposal includes money for infectious disease control programs and research in the United States, so it is somewhat different than the WHO plan.

Still, members of Congress should not give the president what amounts to a blank check. Money that could be used for other priorities – fighting other, more deadly diseases, for example – should not be frittered away in an Obama administration public relations program.

It should be obvious that Ebola needs to be defeated in West Africa. Equally clear is that the U.S. health care infrastructure needs to be improved to protect against infectious diseases. Lawmakers should provide only the funds needed to address those concerns effectively.

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