The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies today held a hearing on the Department of Health and Human Services’ funding request for fiscal year 2019. Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO) expressed concern that the department’s proposal would eliminate funding for the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education program and the majority of health workforce training programs, among other priorities. “While I understand difficult choices had to be made, I believe it’s unlikely this subcommittee will support these eliminations.” Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) said, “I want to make clear today that we will vigorously oppose any effort to undo the bipartisan deal the president signed into law.” Among hospital-specific comments, Sens. James Lankford (R-OK) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) emphasized the importance of adequate reimbursement and telehealth to rural hospitals, and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) highlighted the importance of the 340B drug savings program to vulnerable hospitals and patients. Committee members also noted the effect the opioid epidemic has had on their states and expressed concern with rising drug prices. The president is expected to make a speech tomorrow afternoon outlining steps the administration will take to address drug pricing.

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