House repeals automatic funds for resident training at health centers

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 6, 2011

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The House on May 25 voted 234-185 along party lines to approve a bill that would rescind $190 million set aside over the next decade to train physicians and other medical residents at community health centers.

The provision marked for repeal, known as the Teaching Health Centers program, is part of the health system reform law. House GOP lawmakers object to this and other mandatory funding provisions in the law because they are not subject to congressional approval through the annual appropriations process, while other physician training programs are.

"Everyone agrees that there is a strong need for more primary care physicians in our health care system, but picking and choosing one program over another to receive automatic funding is irresponsible," said Rep. Brett Guthrie (R, Ky.), the bill's sponsor.

The Democratic-controlled Senate is not expected to take up the measure. President Obama did not issue an official veto threat, but the White House issued a May 23 statement saying that it opposes "legislation that attempts to erode the important provisions of the Affordable Care Act that are making health care more affordable and accessible for all Americans."

The National Assn. of Community Health Centers also opposes the House bill, according to a May 23 letter to House leaders. NACHC noted in the letter that the U.S. will need thousands more primary care health professionals to care for the newly covered under the national health reform law.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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