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October 8

Continued funding essential for community health centers

OpEd from LCH Board Chair

Health care is a top issue on voter’s minds – and with good reason. Everyone seems to have a story about how difficult it is to see a doctor, fill a prescription, or access affordable care. Congress is debating a lot of fixes, but one solution they should focus on has already been making a difference for more than 50 years: Community Health Centers.  Health centers care for 1 in 12 Americans, approximately 28 million people.  They save the health care system $24 billion a year by eliminating waste and keeping people out of emergency rooms.  They promote health and save lives.

Congress passed a short-term funding package that pushed the Community Health Center funding cliff from this past Tuesday, October 1 to November 21. While this is a great relief, it is obviously only a temporary solution.  We must impress upon our representatives the importance of health care access to everyone, and the need for long-term, sustainable funding for our health centers.

Community health centers are already addressing public health challenges – insurance landscape changes, the opioid epidemic, caring for our veterans.  Health centers are a bipartisan program, but even strong support doesn’t guarantee survival in Washington.  Let’s encourage our representatives to act soon to protect health center funding before time runs out.

Mr. Ronan Gannon is Board Chair of La Comunidad Hispana (LCH)