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On the Hill: House Panel Considers Multiple Workforce Bills

Multiple pieces of legislation to combat the health care workforce shortage will be the focus of a scheduled hearing this week by a key House panel, while a sign-on letter of support for a separate bill to bolster the pipeline of new physicians circulates among House lawmakers.

On April 19, at 10 am ET, the Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing, “Examining Existing Federal Programs to Build a Stronger Health Workforce and Improve Primary Care,” which will consider eight pieces of legislation on workforce shortages. It will feature testimony by Health Resources and Services Administration Administrator Carole Johnson.

Meanwhile, Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) continue to circulate a sign-on letter among their House colleagues to show support for the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2023 (H.R. 2389). The bill would authorize 14,000 new Medicare-supported medical residency positions between 2025 and 2031, with 2,000 spots allotted per year.

Other Hill Activity

The Biden administration last week announced a proposed rule to make Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipients eligible for Medicaid and subsidized health plans in the Affordable Care Act Marketplace.

“We applaud the administration’s progress toward greater equity in health and health care, including for immigrants and other underrepresented populations,” America’s Essential Hospitals President and CEO Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH, said in a statement on the proposal. “All people deserve access to affordable health care and the physical, mental, and financial benefits it brings. Essential hospitals work daily to improve health care access and equity for the people and communities they serve. Today’s actions will further our hospitals’ ability to deliver on this mission.”

Pandemic-Related Policy Changes

On April 10, President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan congressional resolution to formally end the U.S. national emergency that was in place as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The national emergency is separate from the public health emergency, which is slated to end May 11. As a next step, the administration will launch a program to support development of new COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, reportedly a $5 billion dollar program dubbed “Project NextGen.”

On the Schedule This Week

The Senate Committee on Appropriations will hold a hearing, “A Review of the President’s Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Request for the Food and Drug Administration,” on April 19, at 2:15 pm ET. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Califf, MD, will testify at this hearing.

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About the Author

Julia Grady is a senior legislative affairs associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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