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AAFP Statement: Administration’s 2009 Budget Could Worsen Flaws in Health Care System
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
James King, M.D.
American Academy of Family Physician
"The American Academy of Family Physicians is deeply disappointed in President Bush’s 2009 federal budget. It proposes draconian cuts in funding for health services and physician training, which will do nothing to solve the nation’s health care crisis. In fact, these cuts could worsen the already serious flaws in our system."
"President Bush’s budget would:
- Cut $17 billion from federal Medicaid funding.
- Eliminate $49 million to help states provide health insurance to medically uninsurable people with pre-existing illnesses or injuries.
- Eliminate Title VII health professions training funds.
- Eliminate funding for the Preventive Health Block Grants.
- Slash Health Resources and Services Administration spending by $1 billion. including an 87 percent, or $112 million cut for grants for rural health care programs.
- Reduce funds for mental health and substance drug abuse programs by $198 million."
"Of equal concern, the budget would eliminate funding for rural health and preventive programs at a time when Americans living in 2,157 small and rural communities are identified as Health Professional Shortage Areas, and when the number of Americans with preventable, chronic illnesses is skyrocketing."
"The budget would slash mental health and substance abuse program funding at a time when our mental health resources are grappling with thousands of returning soldiers who are struggling with post traumatic stress disorder in their home communities."
"Money not spent does not necessarily equal savings. In the case of health care, such penury will come at a cost too high to consider on any level."
"The AAFP calls on Congress to recognize that health care is not just about dollar signs. It’s about Americans’ health and theprofessionals who care for them."
"We call on Congress to preserve access to health care for all Americans, rich and poor, whether they live in rural areas, have pre-existing conditions that preclude private market coverage, or work for companies that respond to the economic slowdown by dropping health benefits or trimming their workforce."
"We urge Congress to preserve preventive care programs that will help patients avoid conditions that progress to serious illness and far more costly medical interventions and hospital care. Equally important, the AAFP asks that Congress support legislation that helps ensure access to services for Americans with mental health conditions."
"The AAFP urges Congress to invest in America’s future by supporting the vital primary physician training programs. By doing so, Congress can ensure an adequate supply of family physicians who ultimately can save money while they provide comprehensive, coordinated care in a medical home that improves access to care and improves health for all."
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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 110,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.
Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is 240 million office visits each year — nearly 87 million more than the next largest 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.
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