The AAMC led over 70 organizations representing physicians, hospitals, and other health care organizations that are members of the Graduate Medical Education (GME) Advocacy Coalition in a July 18 letter urging Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to include additional Medicare-supported GME positions in upcoming reconciliation legislation.
The letter reminded Schumer and Pelosi that the physician shortage, currently projected to be up to 124,000 physicians by 2034, is “almost certain to be exacerbated by an aging physician population, rising rates of physician burnout, and early retirement due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The letter highlighted that additional Medicare-supported GME slots would help to “meet the needs of our diverse and growing nation, ensure patient access to care, improve provider diversity and health equity, and prepare for the next public health crisis.”
The House included 4,000 Medicare-supported GME positions in the Build Back Better Act (BBBA, H.R. 5376) legislation that it passed in November 2021 [refer to Washington Highlights, Nov. 19, 2021]. However, in the months since its passage, Senate Democrats’ negotiations have stalled. Recently, Senate Democratic leaders have indicated a desire to move forward with a scaled back version of the legislation, and negotiations have taken on additional urgency.
“We urge you to include additional Medicare-supported GME training positions in the upcoming reconciliation package, and we look forward to working with you to expand and diversify the physician workforce and ensure that patients have access to the care they need,” the letter concluded.