The House voted 361-61 to approve the negotiated appropriations legislation for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, which includes funding for the Health Centers Program and other key health priorities. The Senate previously passed this bill on September 18 by a vote of 93-7. A copy of the bill is available here.
The bill contains a discretionary funding level of $1.63 billion for the Health Centers Program, which, when combined with the $4.0 billion in mandatory funding provided earlier this year through the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, represents a total funding level of $5.6 billion for the Health Centers Program in FY19. Of that total, the legislation specifies that no less than $200 million be spent on quality improvement or service expansion grants to support behavioral health, mental health, or substance abuse disorder services.
NACHC President and CEO Tom Van Coverden issued the following statement:
On behalf of America’s nearly 1,400 Community Health Center organizations and the more than 28 million patients they serve, I am pleased to share NACHC’s strong support for this legislation. Combined with overwhelming bipartisan support shown earlier this year for health center funding included in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, the funding provided in this bill will ensure continued access to comprehensive primary and preventive care for millions of Americans at health centers in every state and territory.
We are extremely grateful to the bipartisan leaders in Congress who championed health centers in this legislation, including Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee Chairmen Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Representative Tom Cole (R-OK) and Ranking Members Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT). Further, we wish to thank Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Gene Green (D-TX), who led Senate and House support letters to the Appropriations Committees earlier this year.
Through the continued support of Congress, health centers today are able to provide high quality, affordable and accessible primary and preventive care to those in need. For that we are so very grateful to all lawmakers in both the House and Senate for their dedication and hard work on behalf of the Health Centers Program, and look forward to working with all Members in the coming year to secure long-term, stable funding that ensures the sustainability and success of health centers long into the future.