AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, and Chief Public Policy Officer Karen Fisher, JD, issued the following statement after the House advanced the fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget resolution, which sets the stage for investments in programs to improve the health of all, including graduate medical education (GME), health care coverage, health equity, research, and pandemic preparedness:
“The AAMC congratulates the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate for completing the FY 2022 budget resolution, which establishes a blueprint for investments in programs to benefit patients, families, communities, and the health care providers that care for them. We are particularly encouraged that the initial framework reflects many AAMC priorities to improve health for people everywhere, including critical components of the nation’s health infrastructure.
First, the AAMC is grateful that the accompanying reconciliation instructions direct increased investment in expanding the physician workforce. This expansion of federal support for GME would help increase access to high-quality care – particularly for rural and urban underserved communities that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic – as well as help diversify the workforce.
We also strongly support Congress’ efforts to promote equity and ensure access to high quality, affordable, and comprehensive health care coverage by addressing the Medicaid coverage gap and strengthening the Affordable Care Act by permanently extending the temporary Marketplace subsidies enacted through the American Rescue Plan. These vital programs provide access to health care coverage and can help narrow the gap in care which impacts many communities, particularly low-income, rural, and other underserved patient populations. We appreciate that the resolution charts the path for funds to improve health equity, including maternal, behavioral, and racial health equity investments.
Additionally, the AAMC welcomes dedicated funding to prepare the country for future pandemics. Using lessons learned from the COVID-19 response, we continue to urge lawmakers to strengthen investments in health care and public health infrastructure that are instrumental to preparing and responding to future public health threats. For example, capital funds for teaching hospitals to develop flexible intensive care unit capacity would help equip health care facilities to more efficiently accommodate dramatic patient surges. Dedicated, competitive grant funding would also help promote even stronger and more seamless collaborations between academic medical centers and their public health and community partners.
The AAMC is grateful that the reconciliation instructions highlight research infrastructure needs, and we encourage support for resources to upgrade facilities and help scientific labs mitigate pandemic-related disruptions. The federal commitment to medical research supported by the National Institutes of Health has resulted in the successful development of testing, therapeutics, and vaccines to combat COVID-19 and other health threats facing the nation.
Lastly, we – along with the broader health care community – are reassured to see lawful permanent status for qualified immigrants included among the priorities for subsequent legislation. Securing the ability for health students and professionals from other countries to continue their employment, education, training, and research in the United States would help increase access to care for patients here at home and further the success of our research enterprise.
As lawmakers begin drafting legislation to allocate the funding directed by the budget resolution, the AAMC remains committed to working with Congress and the Administration to advance priorities that will improve the health and well-being of patients, families, and communities across the nation.”