Krystal E. Knight, MPH
Great news from the House of Representatives!
Yesterday the House Labor-HHS Subcommittee on Appropriations released the mark-up of its annual spending bill. The proposal sets the FY 2011 spending levels for all discretionary health programs located within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including the Health Centers program.
As you know, NACHC has been advocating that Congress fund the Health Centers program at least at last year’s level, which was $2.19 billion. This funding level, coupled together with the $11 billion Community Health Center Fund passed as part of the Affordable Care Act, will allow the full intent of the health reform bill to be realized. Recognizing this, the House Subcommittee has now officially proposed that the Health Centers program be funded at $2.19 billion in FY2011! Health Centers will now be on a path to serve an additional 20 million patients over the next five years, doubling the size of the program to 40 million patients.
While NACHC is pleased with the recent Subcommittee activity, our work on the appropriations front is not over yet! The Senate Labor-HHS Subcommittee on Appropriations will mark up its bill on July 22nd, and then the full Senate Appropriations Committee mark up will be held on July 27th. In the meantime, NACHC will continue to focus our attentions to key Senate Appropriations Committee members, especially those who are members of the Labor-HHS subcommittee.
It is great news that the House Subcommittee has now supported adequate funding of the Health Centers program, but our advocacy in the Senate will be critical during this extremely tight appropriations season. Therefore NACHC will continue to push for funding in the Senate that will enable the vision of the health reform bill to become a reality in FY2011.
NACHC would like to say thanks to those of you who contacted your Members of Congress in support of FY2011 funding, and we will continue to keep you all up-to-date on the appropriations process as we move into next week’s Senate mark ups!