Bipartisan senators introduce pediatric training bill

Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) joined together Thursday to introduce legislation reauthorizing annual appropriations for the Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education Payment Program. 

President Obama has called for ending the program in his 2012 budget to save $330 million per year. Children's hospitals count on the money to pay pediatricians in training because they don't get Medicare funds like other hospitals do.

"Children are not just little adults," Casey said in a statement. "They have very different medical needs and it is essential that we have a specialized workforce to care for them. Each year through this program, over 5,000 residents are trained to care for our youngest patients."

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Scott Brown (R-Mass.), John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) are co-sponsors. Reps. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) and Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) introduced similar legislation Wednesday in the House.