By Amy Simmons Farber
With Congressional budgeteers hard at work, a national grassroots mobilization effort among health center professionals, clinicians, board members and patients is also going full steam around the country. These health center advocates are calling their Members of Congress (see article in Bronx Free Press), talking to the media, and even “tweeting” the President in a Twitter Town hall. All of this is part of the Campaign to Save America’s Health Centers, which is now underway.
As you’ve read on previous posts by NACHC staff, many important programs such as Medicaid are on the chopping block as Congressional leaders debate spending cuts. Health centers already serve one in seven Medicaid patients, which is why a strong Medicaid program is essential for health centers and their patients– especially since many Americans are struggling with access to health care during the economic recession.
That is why health center advocates are getting involved. And the good news is even the media is starting to pay attention. A few highlights include:
In a recent broadcast, the CBS Evening News highlighted the importance of Medicaid to working Americans who turn to health centers for care and spoke with a Medicaid patient — a working mom — and staff at Arroyo Vista Family Health Center in Los Angeles, CA. The broadcast noted that Medicaid had been a lifeline to many Americans struggling in the recession.
Also, over the holiday weekend, the New York Times article, “Clinics Face Budget Reductions and a New Wave of Patients,” noted a similar trend of more Americans turning to health centers for care.
Beyond the beltway in pockets of rural America, such as Montana, newspapers are noting the key partnership, Medicaid and Community Health Centers can save critical dollars. A case in point is the Billings Gazette, which recently noted in an editorial that health center patients on Medicaid are less likely to use to a hopsital emergency room for care.