AAMC Statement on the Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill

AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, issued the following statement on the FY 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) spending bill approved yesterday by the Senate Committee on Appropriations:

“The AAMC applauds the leaders and members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and particularly Labor-HHS Subcommittee Chair Roy Blunt and Ranking Member Patty Murray, for working in a bipartisan manner to advance a bill that will bolster medical research supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) while also maintaining a strong commitment to other agencies along the health care continuum.

The $2 billion increase to the NIH budget builds upon similar increases in recent years, ensuring sustained, predictable growth for medical research funding and helping researchers realize the promise of hope for millions of patients battling life-threatening and chronic diseases. This additional funding will also support jobs across the country, bolster local and regional economies, and support America’s global competitiveness in science and technology.

Additionally, we thank the committee for understanding the need to reinforce investment in NIH with funding for other programs across the public health spectrum. Support for Health Resources and Services Administration workforce development and diversity pipeline programs — including the Health Careers Opportunity Program, Area Health Education Centers, and the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education program — will aid in alleviating doctor shortages and in training health professionals to work in rural and other underserved areas, helping to bring the breakthroughs developed through NIH funding to patients. Likewise, funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality will help ensure that care is safer, delivered with higher quality, and in a more accessible, equitable, and affordable manner.

The AAMC looks forward to working with lawmakers as the appropriations process moves forward to secure final funding levels that invest fully in these crucial programs.”

The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through innovative medical education, cutting-edge patient care, and groundbreaking medical research. Its members are all 154 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 80 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC serves the leaders of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their more than 173,000 full-time faculty members, 89,000 medical students, 129,000 resident physicians, and more than 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences.