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  • Washington Highlights

    AAMC Urges Health Investments in Infrastructure Plan


    Christa Wagner, Manager, Government Relations

    President Joe Biden outlined on March 31 the American Jobs Plan, a proposed $2 trillion economic recovery investment over eight years to support transportation infrastructure, broadband access, the care economy, and research and development (R&D). This economic proposal follows passage of the American Rescue Plan (P.L. 117-2), a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package [see Washington Highlights, March 12].

    “It’s a once-in-a generation investment in America,” Biden stated when announcing the American Jobs Plan. “It will create millions of jobs, good-paying jobs.  It will grow the economy, make us more competitive around the world, promote our national security interests, and put us in a position to win the global competition with China in the upcoming years.”

    AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, issued an April 1 press release and shared appreciation for the proposed investment to support the country’s infrastructure and economy, while highlighting four additional areas in need of investment to strengthen the nation’s health infrastructure:

    • Investments in research recovery for the National Institutes of Health and other federal research agencies to mitigate COVID-19 impacts to the research enterprise and workforce;
    • Expansion of graduate medical education and health care workforce programs;
    • Investments in public health infrastructure, including the creation of a network of pandemic preparedness centers, to better prepare for future threats; and
    • Collection of standardized, valid, and inclusive data to address health care disparities.

    “These priorities will promote health for people everywhere by equipping medical schools and teaching hospitals – along with their faculty physicians, other clinicians, researchers, and public health professionals – with the resources to build the health infrastructure of the future while sustaining high-quality patient care and laying the groundwork to prevent and respond to future health threats,” Skorton stated, referring to additional investments needed.

    According to the corresponding American Jobs Plan Fact Sheet, the president’s infrastructure proposal would provide $100 billion for broadband infrastructure, over $180 billion in new R&D investments for research and innovation broadly, and $30 billion to support several biopreparedness and biosecurity priorities. Within the $180 billion R&D investment is a proposed $50 billion for a new technology directorate within the National Science Foundation, $40 billion to upgrade research lab infrastructure, $35 billion in clean energy technology, and $25 billion for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other minority serving institutions to address racial and gender inequities in research.

    The proposal also would invest in transportation infrastructure such as highways, bridges, and airports; access to clean water, electricity, and broadband; renovating and building homes, schools, and buildings with more energy efficient technology; growing the home care workforce; and R&D including manufacturing and supply chains.

    The American Jobs Plan is the first of a two-part jobs investment proposal, said Biden during the public release. The second component, the American Families Plan, is expected to be unveiled “in a few weeks.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has indicated a desire to pass an infrastructure package in the House by July 4.