Letter denouncing House spending bill garners physician support

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has added its name to the pile of physician organizations protesting the House appropriations bill set to expunge funding for the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality (ARQH) and other programs integral to primary care practices.

A letter bearing the Friends of the AHRQ seal and the signatures of 139 organizations including the AAFP, illustrated the distress the bill has promoted within the minds and hearts of primary care advocates and initiates the nation over.

"Our nation spends more than $2.6 trillion annually on healthcare -- the largest share of which are federal purchases through Medicare, Medicaid, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan, TRICARE and veterans' healthcare," the letter reads. "Americans deserve reliable information on how to deliver the best possible care, at the greatest value, with the best outcomes. AHRQ-funded health services research provides those answers.”

Among other things, the bill was described by the letter’s cohort as being an "assault on science and research" and an "attack on the AHRQ." The elimination of funding for the AHRQ, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, and other facilities of similar focus was also dubbed as, "in the current fiscal environment, 'pennywise and pound foolish.'"

"We are deeply disappointed by the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill and especially the attack on AHRQ," the correspondence appealed to congressional representatives. "We urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to oppose any bill that terminates this agency and its important research."

This latest contribution comes on the shirttails of AAFP Board Chair Roland Goertz’s personal response to the matter, sent on July 18. President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Robert Block, expressed his dissent of the bill around mid July as well.

“This research helps Americans get their money's worth when it comes to health care,” the July 30 letter concluded. “We need more of it, not less."

Find the new letter and the list of organizations supporting it here.