AAFP Joins Cavalcade of Voices Calling on Congress to Reject Bill to Eliminate AHRQ, Other Programs

August 01, 2012 06:15 pm News Staff

The AAFP is continuing to urge Congress to not pass a House appropriations bill that would eliminate funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), as well as other programs that are important to primary care.

In a July 30 letter(5 page PDF) to Congress, the AAFP and 138 other members of an organization known as Friends of AHRQ expressed strong opposition to the House bill, describing it as an "assault on science and research" and an "attack on AHRQ." The fiscal year 2013 appropriations bill would eliminate funding for AHRQ and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, among other programs.

"We are deeply disappointed by the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill and especially the attack on AHRQ," says the letter sent to congressional representatives. "We urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to oppose any bill that terminates this agency and its important research."

In the letter, the AAFP and other members of the Friends of AHRQ say the termination of AHRQ "in the current fiscal environment is 'pennywise and pound foolish.'"

"Our nation spends more than $2.6 trillion annually on health care -- the largest share of which are federal purchases through Medicare, Medicaid, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan, TRICARE and veterans' health care," says the letter. "Americans deserve reliable information on how to deliver the best possible care, at the greatest value, with the best outcomes. AHRQ-funded health services research provides those answers.

"AHRQ funded research is being used in hospitals, private practices, health departments and communities across the nation to fuel innovation and improve quality, identify waste and enhance efficiency of the health care system. It is being used by patients, their loved ones and their health care professionals to make the right health care decisions for themselves and their families."

This research helps Americans "get their money's worth when it comes to health care," says the letter. "We need more of it, not less."