AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, and Chief Public Policy Officer Karen Fisher, JD, issued the following statement in response to President Biden’s fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget request for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and other federal agencies:
“The AAMC appreciates President Biden’s continued commitment to crucial programs and initiatives that would improve the nation’s health through proposed investments in medical research, public health, and patient care in his FY23 budget request. Throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency, we have seen firsthand how critical the NIH, CDC, CMS, and other federal health and research agencies are to the health and well-being of all people, families, and communities nationwide.
While we are pleased that the president's request proposes significant new funding for medical research, we must emphasize the importance of robust, sustained funding increases for the vital research that forms the foundation for tomorrow’s life-changing therapeutics, diagnostics, curative treatments, and prevention. The proposal’s increased investment in Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) would support the new entity’s forthcoming agenda for transformational science. Yet stakeholders across the board agree that in order for ARPA-H to be successful, the investment in ARPA-H must be coupled with meaningful growth in the NIH base budget, which the budget request neglects to include. We urge Congress to ensure healthy increases for NIH-funded research in FY23 so that scientists at medical schools, teaching hospitals, and other labs across the country will be able to continue to make progress toward combatting daily health threats – such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and others – that are facing patients, communities, and people everywhere.
We support the president’s proposal to increase funding for HRSA’s Title VII workforce diversity and rural health programs, which are essential components in strengthening our health workforce to benefit all patients and communities. We are also pleased to see the president’s continued commitment to maternal health equity, and the investments that the budget makes to improve outcomes for birthing persons in the United States. We applaud the president’s commitment to addressing the nation’s mental health crisis through increased support for mental and behavioral health with $397 million for HRSA’s Behavioral Health Workforce Development Programs. However, we are disappointed that, compared to the final FY22 funding levels approved by Congress, the budget request would result in reduced support for the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education program, Area Health Education Centers, and the Medical Student Education primary care program, which are integral to addressing the health needs of patients.
We commend the proposal’s landmark investments in public health, preparedness, and health services research programs. As part of the much-needed boost to CDC overall, the budget request proposes increases to programs that address longstanding health disparities among racial and ethnic minority communities and other disproportionately affected communities around the country, including $153 million to address the social determinants of health. Additionally, we welcome the proposal to supplement core funding at CDC, NIH, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, and other agencies with new mandatory funding for pandemic preparedness. These agencies and programs are essential to promoting our nation’s health security and well-being, and after CDC’s chronic underfunding, the AAMC urges lawmakers to ensure strong investment in FY23 and sustained growth thereafter.
Addressing the mental and behavioral health needs of people nationwide is critical to improving the well-being of our communities, and the president’s proposed investments would improve patient access to critical mental health care. In addition to the increased support for the mental and behavioral health workforce, we applaud policies aimed at increasing access to comprehensive and affordable mental and behavioral health care through enhanced enforcement of mental health parity laws. The nation’s teaching hospitals and their affiliated faculty physicians are integral components of the nation’s health safety net, and the proposed increases in federal Medicaid funding will help improve behavioral health access for Medicaid beneficiaries. Finally, we applaud the key provisions to promote the integration of physical and behavioral health care.
As we continue to review the budget request, we look forward to working with the administration and Congress to build upon this proposal to ensure strong support for the agencies, programs, and initiatives that will create a healthier future for patients, families, and communities.”