AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, issued the following statement on the FY 2017 omnibus spending bill that includes provisions to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $2 billion, including $352 million provided in the 21st Century Cures Act for targeted initiatives:
“The AAMC commends House and Senate appropriators for their tireless efforts in support of medical research, as evidenced by the FY 2017 spending package’s critical investment in NIH. Every American benefits from the nation’s commitment to NIH, including millions of patients battling serious illnesses and awaiting hope of new and better treatments and diagnostics. Today, this package brings those patients’ hopes one step closer to reality.
The spending package would build on the increase in real funding the NIH received in FY 2016 and continue the momentum of the 21st Century Cures Act. With sustained budget growth at NIH, researchers at medical schools and teaching hospitals nationwide can continue to pursue potential treatments for our most pressing health challenges, and future generations of scientists can enter their careers with confidence that the pursuit of cures will continue to be a national priority. In addition to strengthening the nation’s health, federal support for medical research also strengthens our economic health by creating jobs across the country, both directly in the biomedical enterprise and in the countless industries that support it.
We especially wish to recognize Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Roy Blunt and Ranking Member Patty Murray, and House Subcommittee Chair Tom Cole and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro, for their leadership in ensuring the federal commitment to medical research remains steadfast. We strongly support the omnibus’ funding level for NIH and urge Congress and President Trump to finalize this investment without further delay.
Additionally, we are grateful that the spending bill preserves almost all funding for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) workforce development and diversity pipeline programs, and boosts funding for the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program. With existing and looming health care workforce shortages and increasing demand for these services, supporting health care workforce development is crucial to ensuring access to care for all Americans.
We also appreciate that the bill continues to support the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), though we hope to work with lawmakers moving forward to restore full funding to the agency. AHRQ helps integrate the products of research into practice—an essential component to deliver on the promise of good health—and continued cuts will only undermine these efforts.
We look forward to working with Congress to finalize FY 2017 spending levels without further delay to ensure full funding for all critical health programs that create a healthy and prosperous nation in FY 2018 and beyond."
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 151 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.