Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), a physician, sent a letter to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (PDF) urging that its members “give full consideration” to the impact further healthcare funding cuts would have on medical education as well as on the economy and employment.
U.S. reps oppose funding threat to medical education
The letter, which noted Tennessee's “distinguished healthcare heritage,” was signed by six of the nine members of the state's delegation to the U.S. House.
"While we recognize that reductions in funding for graduate medical education and indirect medical education are part of the discussion, we ask that you carefully consider the impact of such cuts. GME is essential in educating the next generation of healthcare providers," the letter stated.
“The impact from hospitals and various providers on the workforce in our state is substantial, employing 290,000 workers and contributing more than $22.9 billion to the economy,” the letter also stated, adding that cuts to hospitals would leave many in “precarious financial position,” particularly small and rural facilities that “are prone to reliance on federal payment status.”
Other Republicans signing the letter along with Roe were Diane Black, Scott DesJarlais, John Duncan, and Chuck Fleischmann. Democrat Steve Cohen also signed it. Republicans Marsha Blackburn and Steve Fincher did not, nor did “Blue Dog” Democrat Jim Cooper. DesJarlais is a physician and Black is a nurse.
This is the third letter to the supercommittee sent or signed by Roe. On Sept. 1, he wrote a letter seeking the repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board. He also signed on Oct. 6 a letter circulated by Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) urging the repeal of the sustainable growth rate formula for Medicare payment to physicians.
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