Washington, D.C. – House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) released the following statement after the House passed legislation to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which included her bill to extend the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) program:
“Bringing more physicians to Eastern Washington is one of my top priorities. Teaching Health Centers, like the Spokane Teaching Health Clinic, can help address the stark reality of doctor shortages in rural and underserved areas. The program is vital to the health of our communities, which is why I’ve fought every step of the way to ensure it can continue with not just sufficient funding, but a significant increase,” said Chair McMorris Rodgers. “I’m also proud that we moved the Children’s Health Insurance Program over the finish line here in the House, and I hope the Senate considers it immediately. It provides much needed certainty to the parents of more than 1 million kids in Washington state whose children rely on the program for health care coverage.”
This morning, the Chair spoke on the House floor about CHIP. Watch her remarks here:
NOTE: In July,Chair McMorris Rodgers introduced the Training the Next Generation of Primary Care Doctors Act of 2017 to reauthorize the THCGME program. In October, this legislation passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee as part of a larger package of bills. Currently, the physician-to-population ratio in rural communities is staggering. Only about 10% of physicians practice in these areas, even though almost a quarter of the population lives there. Compared to doctors who train in the traditional Medicare program, those trained at Teaching Health Centers are 60% more likely to practice primary care and 30% more likely to work in underserved areas. Reauthorizing this program will help meet the health care needs of rural and underserved communities through improved access to primary care medical professionals.
Outside support for this legislation is widespread. You can find a list of supporters and their statements here.