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 Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) released the remaining fiscal year (FY) 2022 Senate spending bills. The Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill proposes increases in funding for several key programs and agencies within HHS, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA):
“The AAMC is grateful to Chairman Leahy and Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) for producing a draft FY 2022 spending bill that would provide crucial support for programs to promote the health of patients, communities, and the nation. As the country continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have witnessed firsthand the critical role of the NIH, CDC, and other federal health and research agencies that work with medical schools and teaching hospitals to protect and care for our communities. Release of the proposed spending bill is a step forward in reaching a final appropriations agreement that strengthens the nation’s health care, public health, and research infrastructure to improve the health of people everywhere.
We appreciate that, like the bill passed by the House, the Senate draft includes a seventh straight year of increased funding for the NIH base budget. To maximize the potential of medical research to improve people’s lives, we hope that as lawmakers negotiate a final agreement, they will adopt the funding level that passed in the House bill. Ongoing, robust support for medical research directly benefits patients and families by enabling scientists at academic medical centers nationwide to advance new and effective diagnostics, preventive interventions, treatments, and cures. We also appreciate that the Senate’s funding proposal for establishing the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) would supplement and build upon the vital work supported by the NIH base budget.
Additionally, the AAMC applauds the bill’s meaningful commitment to ongoing prevention efforts and public health infrastructure at CDC and HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness, as well as funding to address key public health challenges, such as firearm injury and mortality prevention research, community violence prevention, and opioid overdose prevention and surveillance.
Finally, we appreciate the proposed increases for the HRSA Title VII health professions and Title VIII nursing workforce development programs. However, we encourage lawmakers to adopt the more robust funding levels of the House-proposed legislation, which would represent a crucial first step to building a diverse and culturally competent health workforce to address health inequities in rural, marginalized, and other underserved communities nationwide. We also support the committee’s dedication to increasing meaningful access to care in rural areas by funding HRSA’s Office for the Advancement of Telehealth.
As the expiration of the current continuing resolution rapidly approaches, it will be essential to finalize FY 2022 funding decisions for these critical programs without any further delay. We urge Congress to work quickly to ensure that the final version of the FY 2022 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill prioritizes spending that will improve the health of all.”