AAFP: Proposed 2018 Budget Would Destabilize Foundation Of High-Quality, Accessible Health Care

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Statement attributable to:
John Meigs, Jr., MD
President
American Academy of Family Physicians

“The American Academy of Family Physicians is deeply troubled by the potential negative impact of the Trump Administration’s fiscal year 2018 budget request. Slashing funds for the critical federal agencies that oversee the health care industry -- 17 percent of the U.S. economy -- destabilizes the foundation of services on which patients depend. Damage to health care services, safety and research will cascade into the viability and effectiveness of other AAFP priorities.

“The dramatic cuts to agencies that ensure health care is accessible, safe and efficient ultimately will harm the health of America on both an individual and community-wide basis.

“Drastic cuts to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid budget undermine health security for nearly 60 million elderly through Medicare and nearly 75 million adults and children through Medicaid. CMS must have adequate resources to manage both of these critical programs and continue to transform the Medicare payment system into one that is based on quality and healthy outcomes and that ultimately will rein in the increasing cost of health care.

“Americans will feel the long-term, negative impact of the drastic cuts to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. AHRQ provides unique primary care research that has improved the safety of the care people receive and has reduced unnecessary medical spending.

“Slashing funding for the Health Resource and Services Administration undercuts programs that build tomorrow’s primary care physician workforce. The elimination of the Primary Care Training & Enhancement program under Title VII of the Public Health Service Act will seriously damage primary care education at a time when the nation is grappling with a primary care physician shortage. Title VII strengthens primary care medical education and encourages medical students to choose primary care and to practice in underserved areas.

“The system is only as strong as the agencies and programs that undergird it. The AAFP encourages Congress to reject these budget recommendations and act to ensure the stability of programs that are foundational to an effective, efficient health care system.”

 

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 129,000 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit
www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org(www.familydoctor.org).