An overwhelmingly bipartisan coalition of House and Senate lawmakers called on key subcommittee chairs “to recognize health centers as providers of high quality, cost-effective primary care” and to ensure continued funding for a model of care that offers a “bipartisan solution to the primary care access problems” facing the U.S.
The Senate letter, to U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member was signed by 62 Members of the Senate (39 Democrats, 22 Republicans and 2 Independents). The House letter, to U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, and Ranking Member, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D- CT), was signed by 307 Members of the House (178 Democrats, 129 Republicans). The letters were circulated as the House and Senate prepare to work out FY 2017 funding bills, and on the heels of visits by thousands of health center advocates from across the country.
“Combined with the investments made on a bipartisan basis through the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization of 2015 (MACRA), the annual appropriation is critical to the operations of health centers nationwide as they meet that demand,” the lawmakers write. “Without access to primary care, many people, including the chronically ill, delay seeking health care until they are seriously ill, leading to higher costs and worse health outcomes. The health center model is designed to address this and other health challenges by fostering innovation and high-value care at the community.”
“The historic number of signatories on these letters underscores the strong bipartisan support for Community Health Centers and their mission among Members of Congress,” said Dan Hawkins, Senior Vice President for Policy and Research at NACHC. “In an era when nearly every issue breaks down along party lines, it is clear that majorities in each party support smart investments in access to primary and preventive care. We hope and trust policymakers will take this into account as this year’s appropriations process moves forward.”
To view the full text of the House and Senate letters please visit this link.