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Continuing Resolution Left Community Health Centers In The Lurch

by Countable | 1.23.18

What’s the story?

One of the big ticket items that got taken care of in the continuing resolution that Congress and the president agreed to Monday was CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides health insurance to 9 million children across the country. But what Congress didn’t take care of was funding for Community Health Centers, which serve 1 out of every 12 Americans, or approximately 27 million primarily low income people.

Their funding also ran out on September 30, 2017, or 115 days ago. The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) states that it is looking at a 70 percent loss of funding if Congress does not appropriate the necessary funds.

Community Health Centers are authorized by Public Health Service Act, and fall under the umbrella of the Department of Health and Human Services. They are funded in two ways — through mandatory spending provided by the Community Health Center Fund (CHCF) and via discretionary spending provided in the annual appropriations process.

Currently, the nation’s health centers are funded with $1.5 billion from discretionary funds, and were provided with $3.6 billion from the CHCF.

Community Health Centers are at the forefront of the opioid crisis. They provide prenatal care and preventative care. In some rural areas they are the only health care option. Since funding for the CHCF ran out Community Health Centers have been struggling, NACHC Senior Vice President Dan Hawkins told the Washington Post:

"While we have supported and are very pleased that CHIP relief is included [in the CR], the failure to do the same for health centers leaves them increasingly anxious that many more will face a loss of clinical health professionals, who are seeking other more stable work options, and some are facing closure of their clinic facilities because they cannot sign longer-term lease agreements. This will only get worse if relief is not forthcoming very soon."

Funding for the CHCF has been included in appropriations bills that have been proposed in recent months, then pulled again. According to the Post, word on Capitol Hill is that it will be included in the funding bill that must be approved by February 9, but whether that actually happens is not guaranteed by anyone at this point.

What do you think?

Should Congress make sure to include funding for the Community Health Center Fund in their next appropriations bill? Why or why not?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

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Written by Countable

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(22)
  • P
    01/23/2018
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    We must expand community health centers (including basic dental, massive public health education and outreach). The profit generation model of health care conflicts with positive outcomes. We must institute an innovative National Health System in order to truly make America great.

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  • Charlotte
    01/23/2018
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    You all need to sit down with both sides and work out Healthcare across the board!! It all needs to be fixed! Every part!! Keep the little that is working and chuck the rest!! Make sure physicians, surgeons, nurses and other healthcare workers are consulted!! They are on the front lines and no better then lobbyists, politicians, lawyers, and insurance companies!!!

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  • HockeyGuy
    01/23/2018
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    Why is CHIPS funded for 6 years? Are we going to run out of kids after 6 years? Why isn’t healthcare for Congress funded for only 6 years like CHIPS? Why can’t the richest country of all afford healthcare for all of its citizens? Sooner or later there will be a “greed” revolution in this country and we will overcome the insane levels of greed we currently have!

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  • Marylynn
    01/24/2018
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    EMPATHY this is what our lawmakers are lacking these days. Toying with people's lives.

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  • Sarah
    01/24/2018
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    Cheryl, below, is incorrect. CHC’s serve, mostly, poor American citizens, in every single state. I certainly wish people would do their homework on this topic.

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  • Rockford
    01/23/2018
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    👎🏻

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  • Rosa
    01/23/2018
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    Please raise awareness of the needs of these support centers that are of vital importance to our health care system

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  • Donna
    01/24/2018
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    Another complete screw up by our ineffective legislators. Can you really be this heartless? Or are you just stupid?

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  • S
    01/24/2018
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    I’d bet Paul Ryan is behind this. He wants to gut Medicaid and does not believe the government has any responsibility for the poor. He thought he could do it with CHIP, but got such a back lash it had to be funded. He couldn’t put it off any longer although I’m sure he would have tried if there had been one scintilla of a chance.

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  • Jackie
    01/24/2018
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    I lived in northern mich for 29 years. Some counties would not have any dr if not for community health centers. Must continue to be funded. And lets use those billions trump wants for wall on healthcare instead.

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  • John
    01/24/2018
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    When is this country going to realize that healthcare is a right and a universal single payer system is the answer? Provide healthcare, cradle to grave, at easily accessible clinics and doctors offices and hospitals. Then let’s start on the other important stuff like: public education, immigration, a livable guaranteed minimum income, the environment etc.

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  • Azrael
    01/24/2018
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    Most of theses centers are in areas supporting trump Individuals Must start to help themselves Start calling, emailing, writing Demand trump fix the system

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  • Sheryl
    01/24/2018
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    In my state the only people who go to the public health center are undocumented immigrants. I would like to see that magnet, as well as many others, turned off. Poor people are on expanded Medicaid and have a doctors clinic. So I’m not worried that these health centers are currently unfunded.

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  • Hi-EOI
    01/27/2018
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    What Butts! That’s right, remove funding for health care for the children of unfortunate parents. Remove funding for education. Allow big manufacturers to dump toxic waste in water ways. Make higher education less affordable for these children (mostly children of color)—the plan is to keep the less fortunate poisoned, uneducated, sick, then arrest them for jaywalking, convict them, and throw them in jail. When they come out of jail “rehabilitated”, deny them their right to vote.

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  • Michael777
    01/24/2018
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    If these community health centers mostly help out poor Trump supporters in rural areas, then this makes this a little more tolerable. They voted for people who want to gut our healthcare and social programs, then they deserve to get theirs' cut as well. They reap what they sow. They eat what they grow. They live with the wound they inflicted upon themselves. Karma. Karma. Karma...

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  • gwenhutch
    01/24/2018
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    Why wouldn't we support our community health centers? By supporting easy access to information and other services we prevent disease, sickness, and other things that put more weight on our healthcare system. We should be aiming for prevention.

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  • Jodi
    01/24/2018
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    I would like to see funds available for community health centers and the wall and a much easier less lengthy route for immigrants (Daca) to apply for citizenship guarantee an answer to their application within a short couple months with directions of how to change the refused application to a approval application if it is possible to change the refused application. Seems fairly logical and should be a 60-90 process rather than years to Become citizens of United States of America.

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  • Sherri
    01/25/2018
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    Medicare for All now, then everyone’s healthcare and dental care is taken care of.

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  • curtdenham71
    01/25/2018
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    I’m wondering, how the hell did such smart people do something so silly as not fund Community Health Centers? How do you figure most of those 9 million kids covered by CHIP access healthcare?

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  • Jesse
    01/23/2018
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    The United States should found community centers b

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