Health Center Federal Policy

Goodbye P&I, Hello Approps!

by Krystal E. Knight

Now that most of you should have recovered from the AMAZING time we all had at last week’s P&I, it’s time for us to focus our energy towards appropriations! The Hill visits you all scheduled went very well, and thanks to you, Congress is becoming more aware of Health Centers’ needs in FY 2011. But we’ve still got a long way to go to make a FY2011 increase a reality- and we need your help!

We have two “Dear Colleague” letters circulating Congress at this time. In the House, we are pleased to have Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ). joined by Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) in leading the Pallone-Granger letter. In the Senate, we are equally grateful to have Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Kit Bond (R-MO) lead our Stabenow-Bond letter once again!

In our letters, Health Centers are asking for a $370 million increase for the program, bringing our total to $2.56 billion, which is $80 million more than what the President proposed for Health Centers in his FY 2011 Budget. While we’re grateful to the President for his request, we all know that Health Centers are facing enormous demands and witnessing continuing unmet need in their communities, particularly during these tough economic times.  We’re seeing more patients than ever before, and more of our patients are uninsured. Our requested increase will strengthen existing health centers by making Increased Demand for Services funding permanent, allowing for expanded dental, mental health, and pharmacy services, shoring up the FTCA fund, and expanding health centers to new medically underserved communities.

Please ask your representatives on the Hill to sign on to the Pallone-Granger and Stabenow-Bond letters today! The more signatures we have in support of our appropriations ask, the more likely our efforts will produce the necessary increase for FY 2011. We are keeping signatures up-to-date on the NACHC website so you can keep track of your representatives and either thank them for signing on, or encourage them to do so.