Compromise continues to elude the President and Congressional Leadership, who met throughout the weekend and are still negotiating a deal to raise the debt ceiling in advance of August 2nd, the day on which the Secretary of the Treasury has predicted that the U.S. will default on its debt if the debt ceiling is left at its current level. The vote to raise the debt ceiling will be paired with a deficit reduction package that brings down the national deficit by trillions of dollars. The agreement still hangs on a few central issues – whether entitlement programs including Medicaid, Social Security and Medicare will be cut and to what extent, whether revenue raisers (i.e. closing tax loopholes) will be a part of the final deficit reduction equation, and whether the package will reduce the deficit by $2 trillion or $4 trillion over the next ten years. At present, we know that $100 billion in cuts to the Medicaid program have been proposed, but there is still strong resistance to these cuts from many quarters.
Here at NACHC, we continue to engage in the debt ceiling talks on health centers’ behalf—working both on our own and with many of our partners and allies in DC to make sure that health centers and the patients we serve are protected. For advocates back at home, remember to sign up for the Campaign for America’s Health Centers, our grassroots movement to preserve and strengthen the health center program. Our recent mobilization was the first step in a marathon of nationwide education and advocacy efforts and there will be many more times to make your voices heard in the weeks and months to come. While our mobilization day was a nationwide success – producing over 30,000 contacts with Capitol Hill and 12,000 with the White House – the work of educating your Members of Congress about the importance of Medicaid to YOUR CHC is not done. Keep up the good work!
Finally, since the House has already indicated that they will stay in town next week (foregoing their scheduled in-district work period) to try and reach and complete a debt ceiling deal, the August recess (which includes Health Center Week) will be the next time your Members are at home. Remember to invite your Member(s) to your Health Center Week events as soon as possible, and please post all your upcoming events and invited/confirmed guests on our Health Center Week hub so we know who’s coming out to celebrate.