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President’s Proposed Budget Includes Dangerous Cuts to Patient Care Payments

Washington, D.C., February 9, 2016AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s FY2017 budget:

“America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals appreciate the president’s acknowledgment of the importance of medical research through his proposed increase in overall funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and his continued support for fundamental science and important initiatives such as precision medicine, curing cancer, and the BRAIN initiative. Continued advancements in medical science depend on sustained, predictable, real growth in NIH funding, and increases like those found in the president’s budget.

As the institutions that conduct 50 percent of medical research supported by extramural funding from the NIH, America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals play an essential role in the nation’s research enterprise by bringing treatments and cures to patients and advancing innovations in patient care, education, and community health.

However, the AAMC is extremely concerned that proposed cuts to patient care and doctor training at academic medical centers in the president’s budget will hinder efforts at real progress. Specifically, the nearly $18 billion in Medicare cuts the administration has proposed would severely impede the ability of teaching hospitals to treat the most vulnerable patients with the most complex conditions, illness, and injuries. The shortsighted cuts also would impact the services that are disproportionately available at teaching hospitals, like trauma centers, burn units, neonatal intensive care units, inpatient psychiatric units, and other critical services vital to local communities. Reducing funding to teaching hospitals not only will hinder patient access to services typically unavailable elsewhere but also will limit opportunities for new doctors to train in an environment of discovery, innovation, and cutting edge care that will benefit them no matter where they practice. This is a dangerous set of consequences that could affect all Americans.

The AAMC also is disappointed that the administration’s proposed cap on Public Service Loan Forgiveness would all but exclude medical students, overlooking the already vulnerable patients served by physicians working in nonprofit settings.

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 inadvertently limit patient access to life-saving care. 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.