Legislation to allow for five more years of funding for resident training at children's hospitals soared through a House panel Tuesday despite the White House's call to terminate the program.
The Energy and Commerce Health subcommittee cleared the bipartisan bill by voice vote. The legislation isn't paid for and would have to be appropriated.
"The [Children's Hospital Graduate Medical Education] program has been tremendously successful since first being authorized in 1999," panel Chairman Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) said in his opening remarks. "It trains 40 percent of our nation’s pediatricians and 43 percent of pediatric sub-specialists."
Pitts introduced the bill along with the top Democrat on the subcommittee, Frank Pallone (N.J.).
Children's hospitals rely on annual appropriations to help pay for their residents' training because, unlike adult hospitals, they don't get Medicare payments to cover those costs. The current five-year appropriation expires Sept. 30.
The Senate companion piece, sponsored by Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), is scheduled for a markup in the Health Committee on Aug. 3.
President Obama recommended zeroing out the program in his proposed 2012 budget, saving about $330 million a year.
The subcommittee also approved two other bills.
The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act would reauthorize for five years' efforts to track vaccines and other public health countermeasures.
And the Synthetic Drug Control Act would add products that contain cannabimimetic agents and certain hallucinogenics to the list of Schedule I controlled substances.