Congress Must Reauthorize CHIP, Vital Health Programs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Statement attributable to:
Michael Munger, MD
President
American Academy of Family Physicians

“The future of children’s access to health care coverage and Americans’ access to physicians and services must be resolved. Four programs — the Children’s Health Insurance Program, community health centers, the Teaching Health Center GME program and the National Health Service Corps — must have long-term funding if Americans are going to have access to the care they need, especially primary care. Congress must act now. Without these programs, Americans will struggle with both near-term and long-term access to care.

“No health care program stands alone. Each depends on the success of others. Children and low-income families must be able to see their doctors through CHIP and community health centers. Those centers, like all health care facilities across the country, must have trained physicians. The physician workforce must be built on stable residency training. These four programs are integral to the foundation of our health care system.

“Nearly 9 million children depend on CHIP. Twenty-four million Americans depend on community health centers for their health care. More than eight in 10 THCGME graduates continue to practice in primary care, and they are three times more likely to practice in underserved communities. More than 11 million Americans get care from National Health Service Corps professionals. All of these programs are essential to ensuring people across the country get health care, and all of them must have long-term funding to ensure their stability.

“Congress cannot disregard their constituents’ health security. They must act now to pass long-term financing for these vital programs without destabilizing funding for equally important programs that improve the health of all Americans.”

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

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Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 129,000 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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