AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, issued the following statement regarding passage of a continuing resolution that will fund the federal government through February 8, 2018—which includes an extension of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through FY 2023—as well as the Senate’s commitment to vote on legislation to address expiration of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:
“We are pleased that the House and Senate have voted to reopen the government and strongly applaud Congress for reauthorizing the CHIP program and restoring stability for the almost nine million children that program serves. Now that lawmakers have taken these important steps, the AAMC hopes that they will turn their attention to providing the same stability for other important programs that serve America’s patients.
The extension of CHIP helps to support the nation’s health care safety net and provides services to some of our most vulnerable patients. Yet Congress’ inaction on pending cuts to Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments will have the opposite effect, harming those who need care the most.
Additionally, the continued uncertainty around funding levels for medical research and other health care programs only serves to delay scientific progress for the millions of patients dealing with life-threatening and chronic diseases. To ensure a smooth path from bench to bedside, research funded by the National Institutes of Health at medical schools and teaching hospitals across the country requires predictable, stable funding increases over the long term, not a month-to-month investment.
Congress also has missed another opportunity to extend funding for the National Health Service Corps and Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education, putting underserved communities at risk of losing current and future providers. Likewise, medical students and residents with DACA status face growing uncertainty each day that lawmakers fail to pass a permanent legislative remedy that will allow them to finish their education and training.
All of these programs have earned strong bipartisan support, and action on each of them is long overdue. Over the next three weeks, we strongly encourage Congress to finalize a bipartisan deal that enables robust investment in these key health priorities. We also urge members to pass DACA legislation and provide long-term stability to DREAMers.”
The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through innovative medical education, cutting-edge patient care, and groundbreaking medical research. Its members are all 152 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 more than 80 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC serves the leaders of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their more than 173,000 full-time faculty members, 89,000 medical students, 129,000 resident physicians, and more than 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences.