AAMC Statement on Senate Passage of Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill

AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, issued the following statement on the Senate passage of the FY 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) spending bill, Division B of H.R. 6157, which includes funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other health care agencies and programs:

Medical research is the beginning of hope for millions of patients battling life-threatening and chronic diseases, and the AAMC commends members of the Senate for their dedication to the NIH and other programs along the health care continuum. Specifically, we thank the leaders and members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, including Appropriations Committee Chair Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Labor-HHS Subcommittee Chair Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.), as well as Senate leadership, for making it possible for the Labor-HHS appropriations bill to be considered on the Senate floor for the first time in over a decade.

By providing an increase of $2 billion in funding for the NIH, this bill will enable the nation’s medical schools and teaching hospitals, which perform over half of NIH-funded extramural research, to continue to expand our knowledge, discover new cures and treatments, and deliver on the promise of hope for patients nationwide. In addition to benefiting the health of all Americans, this additional funding will support well-paying jobs across the country, strengthen the economy — nationally, regionally, and locally — and make America more competitive in science and technology.

Continued funding for other important priorities, including the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and health care workforce and diversity pipeline programs within the Health Resources and Services Administration, will enable those discoveries to move from the bench to the community. This also will help ensure that patients in rural and underserved areas have access to the health professionals and care they need.

The AAMC urges the House of Representatives to adopt a similar bipartisan commitment to these essential investments as expeditiously as possible. We look forward to working with lawmakers to ensure timely and ongoing support for these vital programs as the appropriations process moves forward.”

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.