PAEA sent out the following statement today to all members of the Federation of Associations of Schools of the Health Professions, opposing the proposed cuts to health care funding in the Trump Administration’s budget blueprint:
March 22, 2017, Washington, DC — President Trump’s America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again proposes devastating cuts to the Title VII health professions training programs that help support PA programs and to funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), among many other things. The Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) strongly opposes these cuts, which will cripple the medical research infrastructure, delay the application of bench research to the bedside, and reduce the ability of PA education programs to train students for future roles as primary care clinicians.
The proposed budget would cut $403 million for health professions training programs administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). PA training program grants focus on rural and underserved populations, team-based interprofessional training, and patient-centered care. There is good evidence for the effectiveness of these training grants in all supported primary care professions. This funding has helped alleviate access-to-care problems in many parts of the country by providing training and education in communities where care is lacking.
“These cuts would drastically affect the ability of training programs to produce the types of clinicians this country needs most: primary care PAs and other primary care clinicians,” said PAEA CEO Timi Agar Barwick.
The proposed budget would also cut nearly $6 billion — about 18% — from current levels of NIH funding. This would effectively overturn many of the gains made in the 21st Century Cures Act, which passed with strong bipartisan support in 2016. The CURES Act supports NIH research and helped to make up for funding shortfalls of previous years. We look forward to working with Congress to preserve the NIH funding and to avoid the damage to medical research efforts outlined in the President’s budget.
PAEA also welcomes the opportunity to work with Congress to continue support for patients’ access to primary care wherever they live. Health professions grants complement the National Health Service Corps program, which provides scholarships and loan repayment to students. If health professions training program cuts are sustained throughout the budget process, patient access to primary care clinicians across the country will suffer.