Washington, D.C., April 10, 2012—AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., issued the following statement today on the Obama administration's FY 2014 budget proposal:
"America's medical schools and teaching hospitals see good news and bad news in President Obama's proposed budget. We are encouraged by the president's continued support for medical research as reflected in the modest increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). However, we are deeply concerned that the cuts to Medicare in the president's proposal will have serious consequences on the health of the nation.
Medicare cuts to 'providers' are cuts to patients. The proposed drastic reductions in Medicare indirect medical education (IME) payments will make it increasingly difficult for teaching hospitals and their physicians to provide care for the sickest in their communities, especially seniors and the underserved. These cuts also may force teaching hospitals to curtail vital services such as 24/7 trauma and burn units that are not available anywhere else in the community, and will worsen an already critical shortage of doctors in the United States. In addition to training new physicians, teaching hospitals train nurses and first responders. Cutting essential federal support for teaching hospitals could mean up to 10,000 fewer physicians trained every year when the nation already faces a shortage of nearly 92,000 doctors in the next 10 years. Similarly, cuts to health professions training programs, including doctor training programs at the nation's children's hospitals (CHGME), will endanger the supply of pediatricians and pediatric specialists that all children need.
While we applaud the proposed increase in medical research funding in the president's budget, it is important to note that this still means that the NIH budget has failed to keep pace with biomedical inflation for 11 consecutive years, a situation that will have dramatic consequences on the pace of medical innovation and will harm communities around the nation.
We urge the president and Congress to consider the nation's patients and find an alternative to sequestration that provides deficit relief while still allowing for investment in medical research and training the next generation of doctors."
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The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association representing all 141 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and nearly 90 academic and scientific societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC represents 128,000 faculty members, 75,000 medical students, and 110,000 resident physicians. Additional information about the AAMC and U.S. medical schools and teaching hospitals is available at www.aamc.org/newsroom.