We can all agree that 2013 has been a year of ups and downs for Community Health Centers. Long after the challenges and triumphs recede from memory, what matters most are the things that endure. Among them are words — just words. Some were spoken by Members of Congress, others by a friend or journalist. What they share in common is their words in some measure captured the spirit of the health center mission. Here are some gems from 2013:
“Today, health centers operate thousands of clinics across our country. One in every fifteen people living in the United States depends on their services. They are an important source of jobs in many low-income communities, employing more than 148,000 people nationwide.” — President Barack Obama
“Faced with the skyrocketing costs of health care and the scarcity of health insurance for millions of Americans, strengthening Community Health Centers is one of the most cost effective ways to help address inadequacies in our country’s health care system.” — U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)
“At a time when we are focused on making sure as many Americans as possible know about the new health care options they can sign up for through the federal and state Marketplaces, it is also critical to make sure we are boosting access to quality health care services. Supporting our Community Health Centers is just one way the Affordable Care Act is making our health care system stronger.” — Cecilia Munoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.
“The irony is that these states that are rejecting Medicaid expansion — many of them Southern — are the very places where the concentration of poverty and lack of health insurance are the most acute,” said Dr. H. Jack Geiger, a founder of the community health center model. “It is their populations that have the highest burden of illness and costs to the entire health care system.” The New York Times, October 2, 2013
“Community health centers are sustained by nearly $3 billion a year in federal funding — a drop in the bucket compared with the $2.7 trillion total annual spending on health care in the United States. What do we get for that money? Today, approximately 1,200 health centers deliver care through more than 9,000 service delivery sites nationwide, treating more than 21 million Americans a year.” U.S. News and World Report, October 28, 2013