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Opposition to Medical Research, Teaching Hospital Cuts


If given a choice, the majority of Americans oppose cuts in federal funding to medical research and teaching hospitals in order to reduce the national deficit.

Although Americans are resigned that there will have to be cuts to various programs in order to get the federal deficit under control, one area they don’t seem ready to see spending reductions is in health care.

An Association of American Medical Colleges survey, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, revealed that a majority of Americans oppose cutting federal funding for medical research or teaching hospitals.

Of respondents, 62% oppose significantly cutting the federal funding to medical research and 77% oppose significant cuts in funding to teaching hospitals that provide training to new doctors, special medical services, and care for sicker patients. This majority of opposition was across political affiliations.

“It is important to note that there are no sub-groups across the data where a majority, or even a plurality, support federal funding cuts to teaching hospitals that provide these services,” said POS partner and co-founder Bill McInturff.

When respondents were given the option of cutting from eight domestic programs in order to reduce the deficit, medical research only received 7% of votes.

There was a sharp distinction between programs chosen based on a person’s political affiliations. The two top choices for Republicans were unemployment benefits and public education. Independents chose national defense and unemployment benefits, and Democrats picked national defense and roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

“At a time when medical research is improving health significantly and when more Americans are seeking medical care, we need to find long-term solutions to address the deficit, rather than short-term fixes that could damage the nation’s health,” said Darrell G. Kirch, MD, AAMC president and chief executive officer.

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