AAFP Looks at Congressional Agenda in the Presidential Election Year
The year 2000 brings the presidential election but may be a slow year for congressional action. Typically, presidential election years result in more talk than action on Capitol Hill. Nevertheless, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) is focusing advocacy efforts on key health issues of importance to patients and physicians. For example, AAFP supports strong managed care reform/patient protection legislation and is urging members of the House and Senate to come to a resolution on the measure. Another key bill would provide an exception to existing antitrust laws to engage physicians to collectively bargain with managed care companies. This legislation, known to physicians as the Campbell bill after its sponsor Tom Campbell (R-Calif.), is currently in the House Judiciary Committee. In the Senate, AAFP hopes to defeat a pain management bill that, if enacted, could have a chilling effect on appropriate use of pain medicine by physicians. Facing a budget proposal by the administration that is expected to delete all funding for primary care training, the AAFP already is scheduled to testify before the House Appropriations committee to make the case for continued federal support of funding for family medicine education. Information about the AAFP's work in Washington may be found on the AAFP Web site at https://www.aafp.org under “government relations.”
President Clinton Announces Major Health Initiatives
Even prior to his State of the Union Address, President Clinton proposed new health initiatives including expansion of health coverage to more Americans and a significant increase in funding for biomedical research. By investing an additional $100 billion over 10 years to expand coverage, the Administration hopes to cover parents of the children enrolled in the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), to aggressively enroll eligible children in Medicaid and CHIP, to increase coverage through new tax credits and to strengthen the government programs aimed at providing care to those persons who are uninsured. Additionally, the President has called for funding of $19 billion for biomedical research, a $1 billion increase over current spending.
AHRQ Report Issued on the Health Care of America's Young
A new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), formerly called the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, states that asthma, injuries and mental health problems account for more hospitalizations of children over five years of age than any other conditions, while preschool-aged children and infants are hospitalized primarily for infections and birth-related problems. Youth aged 15 to 17 years seek care in hospitals mainly for problems related to pregnancy and childbearing. The findings are part of a new series of annual reports by AHRQ on access to and use of health care by children and youth in the United States. Copies of the report “Annual Report on Access to and Utilization of Health Care for Children and Youth in the United States—1999” (AHRQ00-R014) are available without charge from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse, P.O. Box 8547, Silver Spring, MD 20907; telephone: 800-358-9295; and from the AHRQ instant fax service at 301-594-2800.
American Cancer Society Launches A Campaign Against Cancer
At a news conference in Washington, D.C., in January, the American Cancer Society (ACS) unveiled a first-of-its-kind grassroots effort supported by a targeted advertising campaign to educate the presidential candidates on cancer issues and urge them to adopt a cancer cure and prevention agenda for the 2000 presidential election. ACS volunteers throughout the country will ask the presidential candidates about their agendas in the fight against cancer. The effort, called the “Campaign Against Cancer,” is chaired by U.S. Sens. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), two of the leaders in the fight against cancer. The campaign is intended to ensure that the presidential candidates and the American voters understand the issues surrounding cancer. John R. Seffrin, Ph.D., chief executive officer of the ACS, said at the Washington, D.C., news conference, “We will eradicate cancer in the 21st Century. But how quickly in this new century depends on the courage of our political leaders—specifically our next president.”
The Journal of Rural Health Names a New Editor
Thomas C. Rosenthal, M.D., chairman of the Department of Family Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo, has been named the new editor of The Journal of Rural Health. His interest in rural health dates to the late 1970s when he established a solo family practice in the rural community of Perry, N.Y. Dr. Rosenthal's goals for the journal include further broadening the journal's audience and impact by expanding its traditional focus on health services research. Dr. Rosenthal received his medical degree from the State University of New York School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Buffalo. He is a member of the AAFP.
NIAID Renews Funding for the Adult AIDS Clinical Trials Group
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has renewed funding for the Adult AIDS Clinical Trials Group (AACTG), the largest clinical trials network in the world. The AACTG will receive $80 million in the first year of a five-year grant. The funding enables the network to continue conducting studies of antiviral interventions, methods to reconstitute the immune system damaged by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and the treatment and prevention of opportunistic diseases and other HIV-related complications. The AACTG consists of a Coordinating and Operations Center, Statistical and Data Analysis Center and 32 AIDS Clinical Trials Units across the country, including new sites in Texas, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and New York. Future priorities include defining the most effective antiretroviral treatment strategies at each stage of HIV infection and developing new ways to prevent or treat opportunistic infections.