FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 13, 2018
Advocacy and Public Affairs Manager
Office of Government Relations
(Washington, DC) – The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) has serious concerns with the Administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget proposal, which would cut $65 billion from non-defense discretionary funding, including deep cuts to public health programs, federal student financial aid, and graduate medical education (GME), which are vital to osteopathic medical education (OME). It would also shift many of the public health programs with stable mandatory funding into discretionary funding, requiring money to be allocated on an annual basis, in turn creating funding uncertainty and jeopardizing important programs that aim to support the country’s health care needs.
As the association that provides leadership for the full continuum of OME, we are dismayed with the proposal to cut GME funding by $48 billion, which will exacerbate physician workforce shortages, particularly in the most vulnerable rural and urban communities. While we appreciate the Administration’s support of the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program, we oppose the recommendation to shift mandatory to discretionary funding for this program, destabilizing a highly successful bipartisan program that recruits and retains primary care physicians in the geographic areas most in need. Similarly, we are disappointed that the President’s budget would create funding uncertainty for the National Health Service Corps.
Furthermore, this budget would devastate Title VII health professions education training and eliminate important pipeline programs such as the Area Health Education Centers and grants for primary care and public health and preventive medicine training. In addition, the Administration proposes to slash funding for the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two critical federal agencies that support patient-centered research and provide health information to protect our nation against costly and dangerous health threats.
Under this framework, the U.S. Department of Education would face a $3.6 billion budget cut, and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program would be eliminated, as would subsidized student loans. According to a recent AACOM survey, 65% of graduating osteopathic medical students intended to enter PSLF. These changes would be especially detrimental to osteopathic medical students training to serve the health care needs of patients across the country.
AACOM commends the significant funding increase to combat the country’s opioid epidemic, yet is troubled by the drastic cuts proposed to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, nearly eliminating its operating budget. We will continue to work with policymakers in a bipartisan manner to advance policies that support the future physician workforce.
As Congress negotiates the FY19 funding bills, we urge legislators to renounce these cuts and invest in a robust, patient-centered workforce as a component of a strong health care system.
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) represents the 34 accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States. These colleges are accredited to deliver instruction at 49 teaching locations in 32 states. In the current academic year, these colleges are educating nearly 29,000 future physicians—more than 20 percent of all U.S. medical students. Six of the colleges are public and 28 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’s mission is to promote excellence in osteopathic medical education, in research and in service, and to foster innovation and quality among osteopathic medical colleges to improve the health of the American public.