President's FY 2013 Budget Cuts $366B from HHS

As part of the fiscal year 2013 national budget proposal, the Obama administration revealed that it will cut $366 billion, mostly from Medicare and Medicaid. In addition, the government will freeze the National Institutes of Health’s budget.

According to Bill Corr, deputy secretary of Health and Human Services, acknowledged in Monday afternoon’s conference that the cuts as necessary to help reduce the deficit.

“Investing in health care, early education, cutting-edge medical research, and our other priorities requires resources, and that means that we have to set priorities, make difficult trade-offs, and ensure we use every dollar wisely,” he said. “Our budget makes those tough choices, helping reduce the deficit even while we invest in areas critical to our nation’s future. Our budget carefully reviewed every program, looking for opportunities to make them leaner and more effective.”

He also highlighted some of the positives coming from the budget proposal, such as investment in the health care workforce, placing more than 7,000 primary care providers in underserved areas.

The Association of American Medical Colleges expressed dismay in a statement released by president and chief executive officer Darrel G. Kirch, MD.

“The AAMC is deeply concerned about the impact the president’s budget will have on the nation’s health,” Kirch wrote. “The cuts to teaching hospitals through the plan’s drastic reductions to Medicare will hurt beneficiaries and exacerbate the already critical shortage of doctors in the United States.”

He added that the budget freeze for NIH limit medical breakthroughs. Plus, the Medicare cuts will mean that teaching hospitals are less equipped to care for seniors and the underserved in communities.

“Cutting the deficit is important for the nation’s economy,” Kirch said. “However, by freezing NIH funding and dramatically cutting funds for doctor training, the administration is jeopardizing the long-term health of the nation in favor of short-term reduction proposals.”

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