FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 16, 2017 Contact:
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(Washington, D.C.) – The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) President and CEO, Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH, today issued the following statement on the release of the President’s “skinny” fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget.
AACOM has grave concerns with the proposed cuts in the Administration’s FY18 budget, America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again, which would cut $54 billion from the country’s federal investment in non-defense discretionary funding, including domestic priorities such as public health, education, and research funding vital to the osteopathic medical education community. This blueprint would raise defense spending at the expense of non-defense discretionary spending.
The budget proposal would cut funding for the Department of Education by 13 percent and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by nearly 20 percent, shaving off recent funding increases, including a recent increase from the 21st Century Cures Act passed by Congress last year. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality would be consolidated into NIH, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be reformed through a block grant to the states. In addition, it would cut funding for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by nearly 18 percent, including the elimination of more than $400 million in health professions and nursing training programs.
AACOM opposes cuts to these programs and believes they will cripple efforts to meet our nation’s health care needs. In particular, cuts to federal health professions training programs would seriously jeopardize national efforts to foster a diverse workforce and enhance culturally competent care for the most vulnerable patients. These programs have demonstrated solid effectiveness in recruiting underrepresented and disadvantaged students and improving the distribution of health care professionals in the United States. Additional investments, instead of cuts, are critical to these already insufficiently funded programs.
During the appropriations process, AACOM urges Congress to ensure that the FY18 federal budget invests in a robust, patient-centered health care workforce as a component of a strong health care system. We look forward to working collaboratively with Congress throughout this process.
The Administration is expected to release a more detailed budget plan in May.
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) represents the 33 accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States. These colleges are accredited to deliver instruction at 48 teaching locations in 31 states. In the 2016-17 academic year these colleges are educating more than 27,000 future physicians — more than 20 percent of all U.S. medical students. Six of the colleges are public and 27 are private institutions.
AACOM was founded in 1898 to support and assist the nation's osteopathic medical schools, and to serve as a unifying voice for osteopathic medical education. AACOM provides leadership for the osteopathic medical education community by promoting excellence in medical education, research and service, and by fostering innovation and quality across the continuum of osteopathic medical education to improve the health of the American public.