Sequester Will Still Cut NHSC Funding
We have written several times about the sequester’s impact on the National Health Service Corps, and like many, had hoped that the entire sequester would be eliminated through the bipartisan budget negotiations. However, the Budget Deal announced today leaves intact the part of the sequester that impacts the NHSC funding.
The Budget Deal does reduce a large portion of the cuts on the discretionary side of budget. This means that programs that are funded through annual funding bills (like the NSHC used to be), will have some additional funding available than otherwise mandated under the sequester. But because the NHSC is now completely funded through a trust fund (albeit one that ends after 5 years in October 2015) the current Budget Deal doesn’t change the sequester’s impact on the Corps. (See more about saving the Corps on our Campaign page).
So the NHSC will continue to see a 5% reduction in funding, a cut of about $15 million each year. For 2013, that meant that more than 200 loan awards were not made, and more than 250,000 people will be left unserved by a NHSC placement.
This latest Budget Deal is a good sign that our political leaders can pass something, but there is still much work to be done for many programs, including the NHSC, that have a proven track record of success and are invaluable to communities in need across our country. Our optimism grows, but the fight definitely continues.