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Internists Say President’s Budget Would Harm the Health of Americans

Statement attributable to:
Robert McLean, MD, MACP
President, American College of Physicians

Washington, DC (February 11, 2020) — The American College of Physicians (ACP) is extremely disappointed in the proposed fiscal year 2021 budget proposal released by President Trump.  The drastic cuts to key government health programs would harm the health and healthcare of Americans. 

The budget proposes deep cuts in funding for both Medicare and Medicaid, hurting the programs that our elderly and vulnerable depend on to access necessary health care services. Medicare would be cut by $756 billion over ten year. These cuts would include drawing down payments for uncompensated care, expanding costlier Medicare Advantage plans at the expense of traditional Medicare, and promoting high deductible health plans for seniors. Medicaid would be cut by $920 billion over ten years by limiting eligibility, imposing work requirements, and offering states waivers to curtail Medicaid spending.  All of these changes would hurt access to coverage and care for Medicaid beneficiaries.

The proposal would cut funding for the Department of Health and Human Services by 9 percent or almost $10 billion in FY2021. This would include $2.6 billion in cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) threatening the U.S. standing as the world leader in medical and biomedical research. Nearly $700 million is cut from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, harming public health at a critical time. The proposal moves or consolidates the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) into NIH without specific details about how that change would be structured, while providing nearly $100 million less for the agency to meet its mission.

The budget proposal also includes major cuts to many of the programs that support our health care workforce. For instance, over $50 billion would be cut for vital payments to the Graduate Medical Education program, by which graduated medical students become competent physicians in a particular field of medicine and add to the nation’s physician supply.  The proposal would also eliminate a large portion of Title VII health professions funding including all $49 million of Section 747 training in Primary Care Medicine, the only federal program dedicated to funding and improving training of primary-care physicians. Budget cuts that harm support for training physicians and other health care professionals would reverberate for years to come.

Congress should set aside this flawed plan. Instead, Congress should enact a budget that would support the health and well-being of all Americans.

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About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 159,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Contact: Jackie Blaser, (202) 261-4572, jblaser@acponline.org