A total of 168 organizations and institutions, including the AAMC, joined letters organized by the Friends of AHRQ urging House and Senate Appropriations leadership to maintain at least $334 million in budget authority for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in fiscal year (FY) 2017.
The letters thank appropriators for “recognizing AHRQ’s unique and critical role in the research continuum that helps patients get the most from new discoveries in basic and clinical research,” but also notes that funding levels approved by both committees earlier in the year “would significantly undermine that role.” The bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee provides $324 million for AHRQ, a $10 million (2.9 percent) cut below FY 2016 [see Washington Highlights, June 10], while the House counterpart provides $280.2 million for the agency, $54 million (16.2 percent) below the comparable FY 2016 level [see Washington Highlights, July 15].
In the letters, the signatories remind lawmakers that, if enacted, the committees’ proposed cuts would come on top of a $30 million (8 percent) cut the agency sustained the previous year. The organizations caution “further cuts to AHRQ’s budget authority would make it harder for health care delivery organizations, health providers, policymakers, and the people they serve to make informed choices about how to obtain the best care while addressing costs and protecting patient safety.”
AHRQ and most other federal agencies are operating under a continuing resolution until Dec. 9, leaving final FY 2017 funding decisions until Congress returns to Washington after the November elections.