The AAMC and two of the coalitions it leads submitted statements April 8 for the record to the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations Subcommittees, which determine funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and other programs under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The AAMC requested House appropriators to provide sufficient funding for “federal priorities essential in assisting medical schools and teaching hospitals to fulfill their missions of education, research, and patient care.” The testimony also noted “that the impractical FY [fiscal year] 2020 budget caps imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011 hold the potential to undermine necessary investment in the full range of critical federal priorities [see Washington Highlights, April 12]. The AAMC is among the hundreds of organizations urging a bipartisan budget deal to increase the caps for nondefense discretionary spending and advocating a significant increase in the Subcommittee’s 302(b) allocation in FY 2020 to enable full investment in key federal programs.
The AAMC also described the importance of investing in the NIH, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, workforce programs administered by HRSA including Title VII health professions and Title VIII nursing programs, the Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education program, the National Health Service Corps, and the Hospital Preparedness Program.
The Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, convened by the AAMC, is a coalition of over 300 patient and voluntary health groups, medical and scientific societies, academic and research organizations, and industry organizations that support funding for NIH. In its testimony, the Ad Hoc Group thanked the Subcommittee for its support of the NIH over the last four years and added, “In FY 2020, the Ad Hoc Group recommends at least $41.6 billion for the NIH, a $2.5 billion increase over the NIH’s program level funding in FY 2019. This funding level … would allow for meaningful growth above inflation in the base budget that would expand NIH’s capacity to support promising science in all disciplines in addition to special initiatives.”
Members of Congress also shared their support for NIH funding in letters sent to the two chambers’ Labor-HHS Subcommittee leadership. 222 lawmakers from the House of Representatives signed a March 28 letter, led by Reps. Susan Davis (D-Calif.), Peter King (R-N.Y.), David McKinley (R-W.Va.), and André Carson (D-Ind.), requesting “at least $41.6 billion” for the NIH in FY 2020. 62 Senators April 15 signed a similar letter, led by Sens. Robert Casey (D-Pa.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.), to Senate Labor-HHS Subcommittee leadership urging appropriators to “maintain a strong commitment to funding” for the NIH in FY 2020.
The AAMC also submitted on behalf of the Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition (HPNEC), an informal alliance with nearly 70 national groups focused on the Title VII health professions and Title VIII nursing workforce development programs, testimony to House appropriators. The HPNEC statement recommends at least $690 million for HRSA Titles VII and VIII programs to “allow grantees to test educational innovations, respond to changing delivery systems and models of care, and address timely health threats in their communities … [and] ensure health professionals are prepared to address the health care challenges of today and the future.”
The House Labor-HHS Subcommittee may begin consideration of its draft FY 2020 spending bill as early as the week of April 29, following the Congressional recess.