Potential impact of changes being proposed in Washington DC

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As you are aware, the new administration is proposing sweeping changes in a variety of areas that affect the lives of all Americans. The new directions on immigration and health care policy and financing are of particular importance to the University of Chicago, the BSD and UCMC.   President Trump’s recent executive orders on immigration and the Affordable Care Act have the potential to have a negative impact on patient care, teaching and discovery at our institution and academic medical centers nationwide.

Faculty, students, residents, fellows and other colleagues from all over the world make invaluable contributions to the rich and exciting intellectual environment at the University of Chicago.  We are deeply committed to maintaining a diverse community in which people from many countries with different cultures and religions and with differing points of view can work together to address important issues.  As an immigrant myself, who was allowed to come to the United States because I was fortunate enough to qualify for a green card, I have a deep personal sense of the importance of fair and consistent immigration policies. International graduates play a critical role in U.S. health care, representing approximately 25 percent of the workforce and often caring for patients in rural and underserved urban communities, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Leading-edge biomedical research depends on international scientific cooperation and our ability to attract the best minds from around the world to work in our laboratories and in our clinics.  

Communications from President Zimmer and Provost Diermeier to University faculty, students, and staff and to President Trump emphasize our belief in the importance of a welcoming stance to immigrants and the talent and energy they bring. We are fully committed to the values articulated in these messages.  An additional communication from Dean Humphrey and me focused on international residents and fellows who come to the University of Chicago Medicine for clinical and research training.

The executive order of January 20 instructing federal agencies to "waive, defer, grant exemptions from or delay" any part of the Affordable Care Act that imposes a financial or regulatory burden is creating uncertainty in the insurance marketplace and among patients and providers. We have been working diligently to communicate our views to elected officials in Washington and in Springfield and are participating in efforts coordinated by the AAMC in conjunction with deans and hospital presidents across the country. Our position is summarized in an op-ed that I wrote that was published in Crain’s Chicago Business. Our central message is to emphasize the importance of access to health care for all our citizens and of providing adequate funding for both patients and health care providers to ensure that this occurs.