Federal Budget Battle Could Jeopardize Funds for Many Health Centers
Dozens of community health centers could close if congressional plans to eliminate billions of dollars in funding for such clinics are approved, the Boston Globe reports.
There are about 1,250 health centers at more than 8,000 sites nationwide. Such centers are considered to be essential in providing access to primary care in underserved areas.
The 2009 federal economic stimulus package included $2 billion to expand community health centers.
The federal health reform law added an additional $11 billion over five years, most of which was allocated for new facilities and expansion projects. The goal was to double the number of patients served to 40 million by 2015 (Emery, Boston Globe, 3/23).
Last month, the House approved a GOP continuing resolution (HR 1) spending bill for fiscal year 2011, which included a provision to eliminate $1.3 billion that had been reserved for community health centers (California Healthline, 2/22).
Reason for Proposed Cuts
Republicans have said the proposed cuts are a key part of their broader goal to reduce government spending.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said the issue of financing the health centers could be revisited after the federal health reform law is repealed. He added that he is "very supportive" of the clinics but "everybody has to share the pain" (Boston Globe, 3/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.