On March 30, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) spoke in the U.S. Senate calling for bipartisan work to help address the U.S. healthcare workforce shortage by passing legislation to preserve funding for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). The U.S. continues to face a health care workforce shortage, which affects about 100 million Americans in urban and rural communities.
“In the wealthiest nation in the world, nearly one in every three people live in an area with too few doctors. I know it in Illinois, I’ve seen it. Whenever I visit a clinic or hospital outside of Chicago, I hear the same thing: Our health care system is under-staffed, under-funded, and under-equipped to address the needs of American families… The pandemic brought it to light. It may not have broken us but it showed us where our health system is broken. Over the past three years, our doctors, nurses, and other health care providers have been pushed to the brink. And, as a result, nearly one out of every five health care workers has quit their jobs,” Durbin said.
Earlier this month, ACU was pleased to see Durbin and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduce the bipartisan Restoring America’s Health Care Workforce and Readiness Act to provide historic investments to the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) scholarship and loan repayment program to address health workforce shortages throughout our country. The bill includes a three-year reauthorization that would double the mandatory funding, which will expire on September 30th, from $310 million up to $625 million in Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24), and increasing up to $825 million in FY26.
Durbin continued, “Now why is this program, in particular, so important? Well, let me tell you: one of the biggest drivers of America’s health care worker shortage is the cost of medical education. Doctors graduating medical school with $200,000 or $300,000 in student loan debt or more can hardly consider taking positions in rural and underserved areas. They have to pay off those loans. Because of those debts they may not be able to do what they want to do… So with the National Health Service Corps and Nurse Corps, aspiring health care professionals have another option.”
Help Support this Bipartisan Legislation!
Please contact your Senators today (call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be connected directly with their office) and ask that they sign on to a recent letter in support of funding for the National Health Service Corps and Nurse Corps. Your advocacy made the difference in the House, and it can do so in the Senate: join us in supporting the Corps and ensuring access to care for the 23 million individuals who rely on its services.
Jordan Marshall, Your ACU Advocacy Contact
Jordan Marshall is leading ACU’s grassroots advocacy to secure long-term funding for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). Contact Jordan with any questions regarding policy analysis or if ACU can be of assistance with your own organizational or individual advocacy.