AAMC Statement on President’s FY 2018 Budget Proposal

AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s FY 2018 budget request, which includes cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Medicaid, and other programs within the Departments of Health and Human Services and Education:

“The president’s proposed cuts in domestic spending for fiscal year 2018 would put national health security at risk. Such drastic reductions to medical research, Medicaid, and other programs at the Departments of Health and Human Services and Education would have a devastating impact on the health of all Americans.

In what amounts to a 21% decrease from fiscal year 2017, the proposed $7.2 billion cut to the NIH would cripple the nation’s medical research enterprise. Cuts of this magnitude would slow or halt vital research that creates hope for millions of Americans fighting chronic and life-threatening diseases. Reducing NIH funding also would harm local and regional economies, resulting in hundreds of thousands of jobs lost both within and outside of the research community. On the world stage, America’s standing as a leader in medical research would falter, possibly causing the best and brightest scientists to move to other nations with more robust research enterprises.

The AAMC is proud to count itself among 300 patient, medical, academic, scientific, and industry organizations urging Congress to reject the administration’s proposal and, instead, continue the progress medical research is making with a $2 billion increase to the NIH budget in fiscal year 2018.

In addition to dramatic reductions in medical research, the budget request would impose untenable cuts in Medicaid, hurting seniors, children, the disabled, and other vulnerable Americans. While we are encouraged that the administration recognizes the importance of maintaining the investment in the Medicare program, we are concerned that this proposal to change the Medicaid program into a block grant or per-capita program would also mean that fewer people have health coverage, and those with coverage would have a harder time accessing high-quality care.

While the AAMC appreciates the administration’s proposal to extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, we are disappointed that it is only for two years and at a lower funding level, which will result in a $6 billion cut to the program. This unsustainable cut would put the health of our nation’s children at risk.

Additionally, the AAMC is extremely disappointed that the administration proposes to essentially eliminate Title VII health professions and Title VIII nursing workforce development programs, which are among the only federally funded programs designed to improve the supply, distribution, and diversity of the health professions workforce. These programs have been consistently effective in recruiting and training health care professionals who are able to adapt to the changing needs of the nation’s growing and aging population.

In addition, as the nation faces a growing shortage of physicians, the proposal to increase the cost of graduate and professional student loans while also eliminating Public Service Loan Forgiveness could discourage new physicians from entering public service, including in rural and other medically underserved areas.

The AAMC and the nation’s medical schools and teaching hospitals urge Congress to reject these cuts to programs vital to the health of the nation.”

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 154 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.