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President’s Proposed Budget Would Be One Step Forward, Two Steps Back for America’s Patients

Washington, D.C., February 2, 2015AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s FY2016 budget:

“America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals appreciate the president’s proposal to increase medical research funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by nearly $1 billion and by $33 million for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) research programs. This, along with the new focus on important advances such as precision medicine, is a welcome beginning to ensuring that medical research remains a national priority.

With most medical research taking place at medical schools and teaching hospitals, sustained, predictable, real growth in NIH funding is essential to allow these institutions to bring treatments and cures to patients everywhere. However, while the requested increases for NIH hold the potential for progress toward this goal, the deep cuts proposed to doctor training and clinical care at academic medical centers will make real progress difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.

For example, the administration’s proposed $16 billion cut in support for the complex patient care provided at teaching hospitals will have a severe, negative impact on the very institutions that have historically led the way in health crises, most recently the fight against Ebola. In fact, those facilities designated as Ebola Treatment Centers would see dramatic cuts under the budget proposal. Medical schools and teaching hospitals depend on federal funding, not only to respond to public health emergencies, but also to provide critical services often not available elsewhere and to train the next generation of physicians and health professionals.

While we are pleased that the administration recognizes the need to invest in the next generation of physicians through the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and other new workforce programs, these proposals would not make up for the harm done by cuts to teaching hospitals that could ultimately force institutions to reduce the number of residency positions and cut other vital services. In addition, the administration’s proposal to curtail student loan repayment and education tax incentives would disproportionately hurt graduate and professional student borrowers.

We appreciate the president’s vision to improve health care in this country, but remain concerned that the proposals in the administration’s budget will jeopardize patient care and exacerbate the doctor shortage. The AAMC looks forward to working with the administration and Congress to find ways to sufficiently support the complex patient care, groundbreaking medical research, and critical physician training taking place at the nation’s medical schools and teaching hospitals.”

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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 147 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 nearly 160,000 faculty members, 83,000 medical students, and 115,000 resident physicians. Additional information about the AAMC and its member medical schools and teaching hospitals is available at www.aamc.org.

Contact

Susan Beach   
202-828-0983
sbeach@aamc.org


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