President Trump Budget Seriously Undercuts Agencies, Programs Vital for Access to High-Quality Health Care

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
Thursday, March 16, 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 Trump Administration’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget and its implications for patients’ health, safety and access to care. If implemented, these cuts would create a domino effect of damage that ultimately will harm the health of America on both an individual and community-wide basis.

“Slashing funds for 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 one agency will trickle into the viability and effectiveness of others.

“Patients assume the medicines they take are safe and effective. Financially starving the Food and Drug Administration severely hampers the agency’s ability to protect them from drugs that are ineffective at best and actively harmful at worst.

“Cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will harm public health services that ensure both individual and community health. Deep cuts to its budget will decimate the CDC’s ability to prevent and control outbreaks of disease, leaving all U.S. residents vulnerable to emerging, deadly infectious diseases that could easily escalate into a pandemic.

“The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reduces unnecessary medical spending by producing evidence on clinical decisions that advance patient safety and decrease medical errors. Moreover, the guidelines issued by the agency’s U.S. Preventive Services Task Force ensure that patients receive the most appropriate, evidence-based health services.

“Slashing funding for the Health Resource and Services Administration and its programs undercuts two of the most important initiatives that build tomorrow’s primary care physician workforce. The Primary Care Training & Enhancement program under Title VII of the Public Health Service Act and the National Health Service Corps -- are vital for building a physician workforce to meet everyone’s health care needs. Title VII strengthens primary care medical education, and the NHSC scholarship and loan forgiveness programs encourage medical students to choose primary care and to practice in underserved areas.

“The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services plays a crucial role in the health care of more than 125 million Americans enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid, and in the Children’s Health Insurance Program. CMS must have adequate resources to manage both of these critical programs. Equally important, CMS must continue to implement the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act that transforms Medicare into a payment system based on quality and healthy outcomes, and ultimately reins in the increasing cost of health care.

“Health care is, indeed, complicated. 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 stability of programs that are foundational to an effective, efficient health care system.”


Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Meigs, contact Leslie Champlin, (800) 274-2237, Ext. 5224, or lchampli@aafp.org.

 

 


# # #

Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 131,400 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.

To learn more about the AAFP and family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. Follow us on Twitter,(twitter.com) and like us on Facebook. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org(familydoctor.org).