President Obama today released his proposed 2013 budget, which outlines his administration's recommended spending levels for all federal programs.
Included in the budget is funding for the Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program, the only federal program that supports the training of pediatricians and pediatric specialists in children's teaching hospitals. This vital program trains more than 5,600 pediatricians and pediatric specialists each year.
The president's budget includes $88 million for CHGME. While this amount is far below previous amounts proposed for the program - and also far less than what could be considered adequate funding for the training of pediatric providers - it represents a reversal by the White House from last year, when the President proposed eliminating CHGME entirely. Fortunately, Congress did not take the president's suggestion to eliminate the program and provided $265 million for CHGME in 2012. We'll need your help to ensure that Congress once again recognizes the importance of providing funding to train pediatric specialists in 2013 and beyond. Simply put, fewer pediatricians mean less access to quality health care for our kids.
As you saw in our last blog post, recent statistics have proven how successful CHGME has been. It's important that these advances in pediatric training be allowed to continue.
The president also proposes $320 billion in other health savings, including $55.7 billion in Medicaid cuts which would be parceled out over 10 years. All of the Medicaid proposals in the president's proposed budget were previously included in his 2011 recommendations to the so-called "super committee." It's likely that the budget proposal offered by the House of Representatives will call for even larger cuts to Medicaid. (Not to mention the numerous threats Medicaid faces on the state level.) As you know, Medicaid is a program of great importance to our nation's children; nearly 42 million children - or one in three - is covered by Medicaid.
In the coming weeks, we will outline several action items for you, as a concerned advocate, to urge Congress to support funding for and reauthorization of CHGME, and to oppose any cuts to Medicaid. In the meantime, keep checking back to this blog, as well as the Children's Hospital Association website and our Twitter and Facebook pages for breaking news and updates.
Thank you for your continued advocacy efforts.