AAMC Statement on Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill

AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, issued the following statement on the FY 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) spending bill approved yesterday by the Senate Appropriations Committee:

“The AAMC commends the Senate Appropriations Committee, and particularly Subcommittee Chair Roy Blunt and Ranking Member Patty Murray, for working in a bipartisan manner to advance legislation that provides continued support for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other agencies vital to ensuring our nation’s health security, such as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

We especially applaud the Committee for again championing a nearly $2 billion increase for NIH-supported medical research at medical schools, teaching hospitals, and other research institutions, and for preserving NIH support for the facilities and administrative infrastructure that makes that groundbreaking research possible. Together with their House counterparts, the Committee’s leadership has been key in ensuring that sustained growth in the NIH budget remains a national priority, and these efforts not only offer a lifeline to patients across the country, but also strengthen local economies and our global competitiveness.

We are also grateful that the bill recognizes the importance of investing across the public health spectrum. For example, steady funding for HRSA workforce development and diversity pipeline programs— including the Health Careers Opportunity Program, the Centers of Excellence, 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.

This bill demonstrates the importance of even moderate discretionary spending growth for health care programs, and we hope Congress will act to ensure the spending caps enable such investments. The AAMC looks forward to working with lawmakers as the process moves forward to secure final funding levels that invest fully in these critical programs that improve our nation’s health security.” 

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.