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 regarding passage of the Build Back Better Act by the U.S. House of Representatives:
“The AAMC applauds the House for advancing the Build Back Better Act, which would take important steps toward alleviating the physician shortage, diversifying the physician workforce, improving access to care for people in underserved urban and rural communities, strengthening public health infrastructure, and addressing long-standing health inequities.
The AAMC-supported health care workforce investments in the bill include a significant increase in the number of Medicare-supported graduate medical education (GME) slots; the Pathway to Practice Training Program; programs to improve maternal health; and additional funding for Teaching Health Center GME, the National Health Service Corps, Children’s Hospitals GME, and health professions training at Department of Veterans Affairs’ facilities.
We strongly support and appreciate the historic increase in funding for physician training, which would benefit patients across the country, especially those in areas hardest hit by doctor shortages. Physicians are an instrumental component of the nation’s health infrastructure. The inclusion of an additional 4,000 new Medicare-supported residency positions targeted at primary care, mental health, and other critical specialties will increase patient access to care and contribute to a healthier future. This provision builds upon last year’s thoughtful bipartisan effort to add GME positions, and we commend Congress for its continued commitment to addressing this ongoing challenge.
We also strongly support the inclusion of the Pathway to Practice Training Program, an innovative approach to increasing the diversity of the physician workforce. All patients – particularly those in rural and other underserved areas – should have access to essential health care. Initiatives like this are instrumental in encouraging students from communities that are underrepresented in higher education to attend medical school.
We applaud the $3.37 billion in supplemental funding for Teaching Health Center GME. Teaching health centers play a unique role in increasing the number of primary care physicians practicing in communities nationwide. Additionally, the legislation includes $500 million for grants to medical schools and branch campus infrastructure in underserved areas.
Health care workforce provisions are a crucial complement to other key investments that would improve the health and well-being of people everywhere. For example, this bill would provide access to affordable and comprehensive health care coverage, strengthen vulnerabilities in the nation’s fragile public health infrastructure, support public health approaches to reducing community violence, and invest in efforts to improve maternal health.
We commend the efforts of congressional leaders who contributed to the passage of the Build Back Better Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. Specifically, we applaud Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), House Ways & Means Committee Chair Richard Neal (D-Mass.), House Energy & Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), and House Budget Committee Chair John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) as leaders who recognize, through this legislation, the importance of supporting and strengthening the health care workforce and the nation’s health infrastructure.
We urge the Senate to pass the Build Back Better Act, and we remain committed to working with all members of Congress and the Biden administration to advance priorities that will improve the health of people and communities everywhere.”