Health Center Advocates Urge Congress, White House to Preserve Health Care Services
Nearly 10,000 Health Center advocates this week urged Congressional negotiators to refrain from harmful budget cuts that will hurt working families who increasingly use Community Health Centers as their primary source of health care. The National Mobilization Call-In Day was launched by health center patients, doctors, nurses, administrators and community leaders as part of a national Campaign for America’s Health Centers. Thousands of advocates called their representatives in Congress and the White House with this message: “Do not undermine the successful Health Centers program as you negotiate Medicaid changes and cuts to the federal budget.”
“The point of our campaign is to educate our state and national leaders not only about the importance of our health center, but the importance of Medicaid to our patients,” says Dr. Gary Wiltz, MD, CEO of Teche Action Clinic in Franklin, Louisiana and Board Chair-Elect of the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). “Health centers are an essential part of America’s commitment to health care because we deliver cost-effective, efficient and high quality care for the community. The Campaign for America’s Health Centers will provide a vehicle for organizing our patients and community stakeholders to impact the decisions Congress and the White House are making that will determine the future of health centers and the patients we serve.”
The health center mobilization effort comes as Congress considers cuts to federal discretionary programs as well as changes to the Medicaid program that may result in payment cuts to health centers for Medicaid services for patients. Such actions would force many health centers to reduce services or even close their doors, forcing people to seek costlier care at hospital emergency rooms as a last resort.
Cuts to health center funding and Medicaid could also cut off access to health care for the millions of Americans now turning to health centers for care in the midst of the economic recession because they carry little or no insurance, or are being priced out of the health care market altogether. Access to affordable health care remains a big problem for Americans of all income levels, as there are still 60 million people, including many with health insurance, who do not have access to a regular source of health care.
To find out more about the Campaign for America’s Health Centers please visit http://www.saveourchcs.org/