Graduate Medical Education

Support GME Funding

Encourage your representatives to support new funding models for primary care physicians.


With the creation of the Medicare program in 1965, a funding stream was established to support the training of medical residents in support of Medicare beneficiary care. Today, Medicare remains the single largest payer of graduate medical education (GME), with expenditures totaling about $9.5 billion annually.

Despite the importance of GME funding in helping to avert a physician shortage, budgetary concerns have led some in Congress to propose major reductions in GME expenditures. Critics question the overall value of the program, and concerns have been raised regarding a lack of accountability for educational funds provided exclusively to hospitals.

The AAFP recognizes the financial pressures facing the federal government and concurs that the GME program must be modernized to keep pace with an ongoing shift in care delivery away from hospitals. Nonetheless, the AAFP has repeatedly urged Congress to prevent cuts to this essential program.

In the event that cuts occur due to sequestration, however, AAFP has recommended that:

  • Reductions be prioritized and targeted to avoid a disproportionate impact on the primary care workforce;
  • Special protections be established for primary care training;
  • Innovative new models for the distribution of Medicare GME funding be developed, tested and, if successful, implemented.

The AAFP has helped draft legislation to create a budget-neutral pilot project for testing locally based, alternative approaches to GME funding distribution for primary care training. We will continue to remain actively engaged in this issue to help ensure that our country is adequately prepared to meet the demands of health care in the years ahead.

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