AAHC Encourages Congress and President to Protect Medical Research, Health WorkforceWASHINGTON, April 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Recognizing that the current fiscal environment calls for a federal budget that incorporates deficit reduction measures, the Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC) urges Congress to consider the Obama Administration's FY2014 budget as a good framework for moving forward in the appropriations process. Although AAHC regrets that the President's proposal includes additional cuts to nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs, we are pleased that the budget cancels sequestration and takes a more balanced approach to deficit reduction. "For far too long, NDD funding has borne the brunt of deficit reduction proposals," said Dr. Steven A. Wartman, AAHC President and CEO. Wartman called for Congress and the President to work together to avoid further cuts in NDD spending, noting "the nation's health and well-being is at stake when the already shrinking NDD programs that ensure an adequate health workforce, the vitality of our biomedical research, and an investment in our economy are subject to additional indiscriminate cuts." Joining the Coalition for Health Funding and the 3200 national, state, and local organizations from all 50 states representing biomedical research, health, education, and public safety communities, AAHC seeks a balanced approach to deficit reduction that supports economic growth, strengthens safety and security, and safeguards the public health. "Discretionary spending is not driving the nation's deficit," said Wartman, adding "the non-defense discretionary community has already done its part to reduce the deficit." Furthermore, AAHC acknowledges that entitlement reform should be part of any balanced deficit reduction proposal. There are elements of the Medicare program in need of restructuring, but AAHC urges the President and Congress to avoid spending cuts to programs that are integral to health workforce development, including Indirect Graduate Medical Education payments, in the face of growing pressure on an already strained health workforce.