Advocating for Academic Medicine in the 118th Congress

Now that the new Congress has begun its work, it’s time for AAMC Action advocates to focus federal lawmakers on policies to support patients, doctors, researchers, students, residents, and the entire academic medicine community.

Legislation signed into law at the end of last year enacted crucial investments for the academic medicine community, including 200 additional Medicare-supported graduate medical education (GME) residency positions, a $2.5 billion increase in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, and a $61 million increase for Title VII Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) workforce programs.

In the 118th Congress, there are seven new senators and 74 new representatives, so outreach by the AAMC Action community is essential to inform lawmakers about academic medical centers and their vital roles in improving patient health and contributing to the community. Also, many critical congressional committees will see new leadership as Republicans secured a majority in the House of Representatives. However, Democrats maintained control of the Senate, which means Congressional leadership will be split between the two houses of Congress.

Government relations experts at the AAMC collaborate with and monitor the work of key committees in both the House and Senate to ensure academic medicine’s priorities are represented in the legislative agenda, no matter which party is in the majority. Here’s the latest on the leadership of these committees:

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) serves as chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) with Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) as ranking member.
  • Sen. Patty Murray chairs the Senate Committee on Appropriations and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is the ranking member.
  • The Senate Finance Committee is still led by Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho).
  • The new chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce is Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) is now the ranking member.
  • Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.) is the new chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means and Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) serves as ranking member.
  • Chair Kay Granger (R-Texas) and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) have exchanged leadership roles on the House Committee on Appropriations.

AAMC Action will continue to engage with these and other committees this year to advocate for policies that would improve the health of people everywhere.

We encourage the AAMC Action community to urge members of Congress to join the Congressional Academic Medicine Caucus (CAMC), a bipartisan group of lawmakers who will highlight priorities such as expanding GME, including strengthening and diversifying the health care workforce; addressing the financial pressures that limit academic medicine’s ability to carry out its missions; securing the health care safety net; bolstering medical research and innovation; promoting health equity; improving patient care; and helping academic medical centers continue to best serve their communities as trusted partners and vital economic engines.

Make sure to join AAMC Action for the latest updates on how you can help engage Congress on the issues critical to the academic medicine community and the health of patients, families, and communities nationwide.