The following is a statement from Lisa Simpson, M.B, B.Ch., president and CEO of AcademyHealth:
“The House Appropriations Committee fiscal year (FY) 2013 spending bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and related agencies is a devastating attack on health research funding at a time when this work is most critically needed.
“Our nation spends more than $4 trillion annually on health care, with the federal government purchasing the largest share through Medicare, Medicaid, Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan, TRICARE, and veterans’ health care. Research by AcademyHealth’s members tells us too many Americans receive sub-optimal or unsafe care.
“We can do better, and health services research can tell us how. Yet among the many cuts to public health programs and policy riders, the Labor/HHS bill ‘terminates’ the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) – the very Agency tasked with generating the evidence necessary to build a higher-quality, higher-value health care system for the American people. It also prohibits funding for patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR), holds National Institutes of Health funding flat, and cuts funding for the Centers for Disease Control and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration by 10 percent and 9 percent, respectively.
“Health services research provides patients, their loved ones and their health care professionals with valuable information to make the right health care decisions for themselves and their families. This research not only helps improve individual care, but it also fuels innovation and competition in health care by providing the information needed to improve quality, identify waste, and enhance efficiency. Put plainly, this research helps Americans get their money’s worth when it comes health care. We need more of it, not less.
“As the leading national organization representing the field of health services research, AcademyHealth believes AHRQ plays a unique and necessary role in identifying and supporting practical, actionable information to improve health and health care and we urge the committee to preserve the Agency and continue its base funding.”