GNYHA continues to aggressively advocate for the passage of legislation that addresses the nation’s worsening physician shortage by bolstering graduate medical education (GME) funding. GNYHA has been working with our allies to gain support for the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2019 (H.R. 1763/S. 348) and the Opioid Workforce Act of 2019 (H.R. 2439). Both bills would remove the outdated cap on Medicare-reimbursed residency slots. The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act would fund 15,000 additional slots over five years, and the Opioid Workforce Act would fund 1,000 new slots in specialties that deal with substance use disorder treatment.
The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2019 has so far received an unprecedented level of support for this point of Congress’ session. The bill currently has 117 official cosponsors in the House of Representatives from both sides of the aisle and every corner of the nation. The most cosponsors it ever received in previous sessions was just under 150, and we believe that the cosponsor numbers in this Congress will significantly exceed that number. Additionally, the Senate version of this legislation recently gained three new cosponsors: Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR). With the bill’s two co-leads, Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and John Boozman (R-AR), we believe that this bipartisan, geographically diverse group of cosponsors is a strong foundation for the rest of the 116th Congress.
The Opioid Workforce Act of 2019 also continues to gain support in the House of Representatives, and GNYHA is working hard behind the scenes to push for its passage. GNYHA has recently met with both Republican and Democratic staff from the Ways & Means Committee to discuss this vital legislation. These meetings are in addition to the many we’ve had with other offices, including Congressional leadership throughout the 116th Congress. Representatives Brad Schneider (D-IL) and Susan Brooks (R-IN) have been circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter (attached) in support of the bill. We are very hopeful that the Opioid Workforce Act of 2019 will pass the House this session. GNYHA and our allies are still working hard to identify a strong, bipartisan tandem to introduce it in the Senate.
GNYHA encourages our members to reach out to lawmakers and discuss the need to bolster GME programs. We will keep you apprised of any updates. Feel free to use our position papers in your advocacy efforts.