The National Health Service Corps (NHSC), a federal program that administers scholarships and loan repayment programs to government-approved medical professionals, has nearly tripled in size, the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Department announced Thursday. During the announcement, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius declared that 20 percent of Americans live in "underserved" medical areas, and that NHSC ensures these populations have access to quality healthcare services. "When you don't have access to primary care, small health problems grow into big ones. Chronic conditions that could be managed spiral out of control," asserted Sebelius. "Here in America, no one should go with[out] the care they need just because of where they live." To obtain a scholarship or loan repayment program, a student or physician must agree to provide medical, dental, or mental health services for individuals residing in areas where medical care is not freely available. Through the program, awards are dispersed to applicants who agree to practice in these government-administered territories and adhere to specific HHS guidelines. Thanks to a generous conglomerate of taxpayer-funded resources — ObamaCare, the 2009 stimulus bill, and HHS budget appropriations — in 2011 HHS awarded 247 scholarships, totaling $46 million, and more than 5,400 loan repayment programs, adding up to $253 million.