My previous piece –Help Write the Plan to Restore America's Public Health System and its Leadership in Global Health in 2020– had essentially assumed that any changes made by this administration to health policy, law, or regulations -–whether domestically or internationally-– were likely to be detrimental and should one day be reversed. The suggested approach was to catalog all of those changes so they could be corrected beginning in 2020.
But, what if instead of working backwards in a great string of undoings, we actually had a fully-defined description of the state of affairs in all of the affected agencies as of November 8, 2016, the day of the election? What if we had a complete base case to work from? Wouldn’t that make the restoration –and the moving forward– a great deal easier? Well, it turns out we do have such a staring point.
In anticipation of each new administration, all agencies of the federal government are required to assemble extensive briefing materials including “organizational charts, budget materials, briefings on key agency priorities and areas of responsibility, and other materials describing the essential functions of that agency.” [ 1 ]
Many of those 2016 briefing books have been archived by independent, non-governmental sites, and made available to the public. [ 2 ] And at least one briefing of interest to this project, for HHS, actually resides on the HHS site: https://www.hhs.gov/foia/transition.html. (Given this administrations antipathy to anything having to do with the previous administration, it’s surprising that this is still present on a federal site.)
Other sources of useful information are the Cabinet Exit Memos. “President Obama asked each member of his Cabinet to write an Exit Memo on the progress we’ve made, their vision for the country’s future, and the work that remains in order to achieve that vision.” [ 3 ] See them here: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/administration/cabinet/exit-memos
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[ 2 ] For example, see AltGov2 here: https://altgov2.org/presidential-transition-briefings/and Government Attic, which has preserved the USAID briefing here: https://www.governmentattic.org/30docs/USAIDpresidentTransDocs_2016.pdf