Sen. Murray unveils bill to boost rural doctors

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) on Friday unveiled a new bill to bring more doctors to rural areas and help underserved populations.

“While we’ve made great strides to ensure every American has access to quality, affordable health insurance, we’re falling behind in training doctors who can provide basic, primary care, particularly for those in rural and underserved communities,” Murray said in a statement.

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“The statistics are clear: If we don’t change our system for medical training, millions of Americans will be left behind without access to basic medical care,” she added.

The Community-Based Medical Education Act of 2014 would continue funding the Teaching Health Center (THC) program, which is set to expire next year until 2019.

The program would train 550 medical residents annually in rural and underserved communities and cost $420 million over the next 5 years.

After 2019, Murray’s bill would replace the program and switch to funding and training rural physicians under Medicare.