By the NACHC Federal Affairs Team
A short time ago, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee unanimously adopted amendment F9, introduced by Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR). Among several other provisions, this amendment contained the Medicare Access to Community Health Centers (MATCH) Act, which would remove the cap on Health Center Medicare reimbursement, and provide for appropriate and predictable Medicare payment to FQHCs in the future. (Learn more here.)
This is a tremendous victory for health centers. Since it first went into place in the early 1990s, the Medicare cap has affected more and more health centers – to the point that today, more than 75 percent of health centers lose revenue when treating Medicare patients. If enacted into law, the Snowe-Bingaman-Lincoln amendment would ensure that more of our most vulnerable seniors have full access to care in health centers.
But – our work is not even close to done. We are still strongly advocating for two amendments in the Committee – offered by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) – that would ensure full participation and appropriate payment for health centers in the newly designed insurance expansions.
We will then have to work hard to ensure that these provisions remain in the legislation as it goes to the Senate floor, to Conference with the House, and eventually to the President’s desk.
But make no mistake – your voices are being heard, your advocacy is working, and as a result, more of our fellow citizens will have access to the care they need. Keep it up!