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Secretary Sebelius Testifies at Education and the Workforce Committee FY 2013 Budget Hearing

April 27, 2012—Secretary  of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius April 26 testified before the House Education and the Workforce Committee on the president’s fiscal year (FY) 2013 HHS budget proposal concerning funding for the Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L., 111-148 and P.L. 111-152) and health care training programs, including funding for Medicare Indirect Medical Education (IME).

Education and the Workforce Chair John Kline (R-Minn.) opened the hearing saying, “We have learned the [ACA] will fall far short of the president’s promise to lower health care costs….We have also learned the law has made it more difficult to hire new workers. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the law will cut 800,000 jobs from the nation’s workforce.”

Secretary Sebelius testified that the president’s FY 2013 budget invests in the health care infrastructure and workforce saying, “The Budget includes $677 million, an increase of $49 million over FY 2012, within HRSA to expand the capacity and improve the training and distribution of primary care, dental, and pediatric health providers. The Budget will support the placement of more than 7,100 primary care providers in underserved areas and begin investments that expand the capacity of institutions to train 2,800 additional primary care providers over 5 years.”

Rep. Joe Heck, D.O., (R-Nev.) questioned the administration’s investment in physician training saying, “[T]he Association of American Medical Colleges projects that by 2020 the U.S. will be facing a shortage of 91,500 physicians both specialist and primary care docs. I’m very concerned that at a time when we need to grow the physician workforce…the Administration is actually proposing cutting Medicare’s support for physician training and the critical services provided by teaching hospitals. It’s estimated that the President’s proposal to cut Medicare IME payment by 10 percent will cost America’s teaching hospitals over $685 million annually and would severely impact their ability to train the next generation of physicians. So, can you explain the Administration’s rationale behind this cut?”

Secretary Sebelius responded that the administration is looking at ways to reassess “all the tools [they] have throughout the department —with GME, with Medicare, with the National Health Service Corps, with training of community health workers around some medical homes models….to increase the pipeline of medical providers.”

Heck countered that “cutting IME reimbursement to teaching hospitals cuts the pipeline….[D]ecreasing IME funding will result in fewer residency slots, which will result in fewer doctors…. [T]here is a lot of talk about investing in health care workforce, yet there are significant cuts to training the physicians of tomorrow.”


Len Marquez
Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-862-6281


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