On June 30, the House Appropriations Committee approved its fiscal year (FY) 2023 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) spending bill by a vote of 32-24. The June 30 markup followed the Labor-HHS subcommittee’s markup and approval of the draft bill on June 23 [refer to Washington Highlights, June 24], which includes increases in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), health workforce programs, and public health programs.
Following committee passage, AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, and AAMC Chief Public Policy Officer Karen Fisher, JD, said in a July 1 statement, “The AAMC applauds the comprehensive investments in the FY 2023 spending bill passed by the House Appropriations Committee yesterday. The significant increase in funding for NIH, CDC, and other federal health and research agencies is imperative to reinforce the nation’s health and research infrastructure and prepare the country for future public health threats. The partnerships between these agencies and medical schools and teaching hospitals are crucial to maintaining the nation’s health and well-being.”
The Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, convened by the AAMC, also issued a statement thanking the committee for a $2.5 billion increase for the NIH in FY 2023. “In addition to providing hope to millions of patients, research supported by the NIH advances health, accelerates innovation, boosts our global competitiveness, and supports local economies. We are grateful that the committee-passed FY 2023 spending bill includes a $47.5 billion investment to maintain the meaningful budget growth that is necessary to make these objectives a reality.”
During the markup, the committee adopted a manager’s amendment offered by committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) to the draft bill passed by the subcommittee, which was approved by voice vote. The committee also adopted three other amendments by voice vote including an amendment from Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) to provide $5 million to the HHS to award grants for health care provider safety and security and an amendment from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) that urges the agency to ensure access to medication abortion.
The subcommittee released additional details in the report accompanying the bill in advance of full committee consideration.
For the NIH, the report included additional language urging the agency to consider additional actions to support early-career investigators, increase health disparities research, and prioritize long-COVID-19 research. The report also encouraged the NIH to further enhance clinical trials diversity, as well as the diversity of the research and clinician scientist workforce.
The report also incorporated language on the use of animals in research and encouraged the NIH to recommend that grantees receiving extramural funds for research using dogs, cats, or rabbits implement post-research adoption policies for those animals. The report also directed the NIH to establish incentives to encourage investigators to utilize non-animal research methods, and reiterated language from the FY 2022 spending bill to increase public reporting of the use of animals in research. The AAMC joined nearly 50 stakeholders in a June 13 letter urging appropriators to continue robust investments in animal research.
The legislation also included $1 billion for the HRSA Title VII health professions and Title VIII nursing workforce development programs — a $203.8 million (26%) increase over FY 2022 enacted levels. The report included increased funding for the HRSA Title VII workforce diversity programs and substantial increases for the mental and behavioral health programs.
The report also set aside $25 million for the Preventing Burnout in the Health Workforce program, which was authorized under the AAMC-endorsed Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act [refer to Washington Highlights, Feb. 25]. The program will develop and disseminate best practices to prevent suicide and burnout among health care providers.
The committee also directed the secretary to create a multiyear plan in the FY 2024 congressional budget justification that addressed the provider shortages and establishes a community college to medical school pathway program.
The report also highlighted funding for the Office of the Secretary to establish a National Center on Antiracism and Health Equity, including $10 million to establish a grant program that supports public and nonprofit entities and community-based organizations’ efforts to address structural racism and counter health inequities among communities of color.
This markup concluded the committee’s work on all 12 FY 2023 spending bills, which are now ready for full House consideration. The Senate has yet to begin its work on the FY 2023 appropriations process.