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AAMC Statement on Release of Senate Finance Health Care Agreement

December 8, 2019

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John Buarotti, Sr. Media Relations Specialist

AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) Chief Public Policy Officer Karen Fisher, JD, issued the following statement on the release of legislation by the Senate Committee on Finance that would eliminate cuts to Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments for two years, and extend the authorization for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) for 10 years, among other actions:

“The AAMC applauds the Senate Finance Committee for working in a bipartisan manner to eliminate Medicaid DSH cuts for two years and renew PCORI’s authorization. These proposed actions would benefit the patients cared for by the nation’s teaching hospitals and medical schools, including the vulnerable and underserved.

Teaching hospitals, while representing 5% of all hospitals in the nation, account for 25% of all Medicaid hospitalizations and 32% of all hospital-based charity care. The looming cuts to Medicaid DSH payments will undermine the ability of these safety net hospitals to absorb the costs associated with treating Medicaid and uninsured patients who often require some of the most complex care. By proposing to eliminate these cuts for two years, the committee has taken a much-needed step in ensuring access for these patients who often have nowhere else to seek care.

We also are grateful that the committee includes a 10-year reauthorization for PCORI, which supports comparative effectiveness research that aids doctors and patients in determining the best course of action together. Research funded by PCORI has already led to better-informed decision-making for patients battling cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, prostate cancer, chronic pain, and other illnesses. To enable this vital work to continue, it will be critical to ensure stability in funding for the institute over the next decade and beyond.

We thank the Finance Committee for its work on this legislation and look forward to working with them and the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees, who also have advanced legislation on these important issues, as the legislative process moves forward.

Similarly, we also appreciate the committee’s continued commitment to address high drug prices and are pleased that both the House and Senate are actively pursuing solutions to help patients afford their medications.”

The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through innovative medical education, cutting-edge patient care, and groundbreaking medical research. Its members comprise all 154 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 80 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC serves the leaders of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their 173,000 faculty members, 89,000 medical students, 129,000 resident physicians, and more than 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences. Additional information about the AAMC and its member medical schools and teaching hospitals is available at www.aamc.org.

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