“NO” on Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education Support Reauthorization Act of 2013

Tonight, the House is scheduled to vote on the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education Support Reauthorization Act of 2013 (H.R. 297).  The bill would authorize $300 million in spending in 2013 and $1.2 billion from 2013 to 2018.  The authorization level represents an increase over current funding, which is inconsistent with getting the nation on a path to fiscal balance.

The funds would be directed toward covering the direct and indirect expenses for children’s hospitals such as salaries for medical students and other costs generally incurred by teaching hospitals.

Even the Department of Health and Human Services was able to identify areas of this program in which spending could be cut in a manner that would better align Graduate Medical Education payments with patient care costs.  Indeed, even President Obama’s FY2013 budget proposal called for a significant cut in this program.   Based on empirical evidence, the costs to training hospitals are smaller than previously estimated. The proposal states:

Within the constrained budget environment, this proposal supports only the direct costs of training pediatricians. As such, CHGME grants will no longer fund the indirect costs associated with graduate medical education.

As we try to get our country on a path to balance, this bill is ill-advised as it would impose over a billion dollars of unoffset costs to taxpayers, and the level of spending is not empirically justifiable, which even the White House acknowledges.  In addition, the bill should not be on the suspension calendar, which is meant for noncontroversial pieces of legislation that deserve expedited consideration.

Heritage Action opposes H.R.297 and will include it as a key vote on our scorecard.

Related Links:

Heritage Action Scorecard