AcademyHealth Statement on House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies FY 2017 Spending Bill

For Immediate Release:
July 6, 2016
Kristin Rosengren

The following is a statement from Lisa Simpson, M.B, B.Ch., president and CEO of AcademyHealth.

"AcademyHealth is pleased to see that for the first time in four years, the draft House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies spending bill appropriates funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) – a critical component of the nation’s investment in health research and whose work ensures health care is safe, efficient and affordable.

"Unfortunately, the House, like the Senate, is proposing cuts for AHRQ which would be devastating to that role. As written, the bill would hamper our ability to improve health and health care for millions of Americans by cutting AHRQ by just under $54 million (16 percent), bringing its discretionary budget to about $280 million; decimating funding for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI); rescinding significant funding for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) Trust Fund – further deepening AHRQ’s cuts; and prohibiting funding for any patient-centered outcomes research with appropriated dollars across the entire Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

"Taken together these cuts would be a significant blow to federally funded health services research and our ability to fund research that delivers information on how different interventions work for different patients in different settings. They will make it harder for health care delivery organizations, policymakers, and the people they serve to make informed choices about how to get the best, safest care while addressing costs and protecting patient safety.

"As an advocate for the health services and policy research community and all the users of their findings in the public and private sectors, AcademyHealth is extremely disappointed with the proposed funding level for AHRQ and strongly opposed to the cuts at CMMI, the claw back of the PCOR Trust Fund, and the prohibition on discretionary funding for PCOR more generally. While we recognize that Congress is under extreme pressure to fund competing priorities whilst doing its best to keep the federal budget in check—reducing our ability to make health care safer, less complex and less costly is simply the wrong decision."