AAFP Calls for Stable Funding for Health Programs

Monday, Dec. 12, 2016

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

“The American Academy of Family Physicians commends Congress for passing a continuing resolution to fund the federal government through April 28, 2017. Despite the unfortunate across-the-board cut for all programs, which was mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 sequester requirements, health programs will continue to operate for four more months.

“The AAFP calls on the 115th Congress to ensure that vital health, workforce and research programs continue beyond April. Funding for a partial fiscal year ensures short-term relief from uncertainty, but programs that provide health care and fund research require stability over the long term.

“The AAFP supports health policy that protects and promotes the well-being of all Americans. We welcome the continuing resolution’s $170 million fund to address lead and other contaminants in the Flint, Michigan, water system.

“As family physicians, we strongly advocate for programs that ensure Americans have access to high-quality, cost-effective primary medical care. We call on the 115th Congress to preserve the integrity and fiscal stability of programs that provide preventive care to all Americans, particularly those who live in rural and urban underserved communities. Equally important, lawmakers must preserve federal programs that support mammography, cancer screening for men and women, as well as screening for diabetes, high blood pressure, depression and other chronic diseases.

“Access to such services depends on a strong primary care physician workforce and evidence-based guidelines for providing health care. The AAFP urges the 115th Congress to recognize and support the unique and vital research provided by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. AHRQ supports important research in areas which are not the focus of investigation anywhere else in the biomedical research community. It is the sole federal agency charged with producing research to support clinical decision making, reduce costs, advance patient safety, decrease medical errors and improve health care quality and access.

“Studies consistently demonstrate that demand for primary medical care is on the rise. High-quality, efficient health care depends on a strong primary care physician workforce. This is not the time to eliminate support for one of the most effective tools to build up primary care medicine. The AAFP calls for continued funding for the Primary Care Training & Enhancement program under Title VII Section 747 of the Public Health Service Act.

“We’re pleased this continuing resolution continues current programs that are foundational to ensuring access to health care. Whether Americans have access to appropriate health care in the future depends on the commitment of the next Congress to support the primary care physician workforce and research in the next four months.”


Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Meigs, contact Leslie Champlin, (800) 274-2237, Ext. 6252, or lchampli@aafp.org.

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Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 134,600 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five of the total medical office visits in the United States per year – more than any other specialty. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing and personal patient-physician relationship where the family physician serves as the hub of each patient’s integrated care team. More Americans depend on family physicians than on any other medical specialty.

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