“AHRQ alone has the tools to study our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that those findings are reflected in pandemic responses now and in the future.”
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) led a group of six Democratic senators in urging Senate leadership to include at least $471 million in funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in the omnibus spending bill.
The most recent funding package for FY2021 unveiled by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies includes a drastic 24 percent cut for the sole federal agency focused on generating research to advance health care delivery system efficiency, a function critical in our country’s response to pandemics like COVID-19. Providing the agency with $471 million would restore its funding to 2010 levels, giving AHRQ the capacity to evaluate the U.S. health care system’s response to the pandemic, pinpoint shortcomings, and improve national preparedness for future crises.
“AHRQ is an essential element of the nation’s health care ecosystem, charged with improving the quality and delivery of health care, and a critical part of our nation’s COVID-19 response,” the senators wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MS) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA). “It is critical that AHRQ receive the necessary funding to continue their work, during the pandemic and beyond. Every dollar we invest in AHRQ ensures that our health care system will continue to improve in efficiency and outcomes.”
The letter was also signed by U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). The full text of the letter to Senate leadership is available here.
In March, Blumenthal led a group of 17 senators requesting the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies provide $471 million in funding for AHRQ. That letter is available here. In May, Blumenthal and U.S. Representative Don Beyer (D-VA) led a group of 32 Members of Congress in a bipartisan, bicameral push to provide supplemental AHRQ funding in a COVID-19 relief package. The text of that letter to Senate leadership is available here.