As many of you are aware, our first indication of how health centers will fare in the FY2010 Appropriations process will come this week when the House Labor, Health, and Human Services Committee holds its subcommittee mark-up. The mark-up will be held Friday, July 10 (moved from its original date of this Wednesday, July 8).
In coalition meetings with the House and Senate Appropriations Committee staff over the last two weeks, I heard consistently how tight their allocations were going to be this year, and that in divvying up their increase amount available, they would have to take into account those who received stimulus funding. They indicated many programs would, as in the President’s budget, be level funded at FY2009 levels. For the Health Centers program, you’ll recall, this would mean $2.19 billion and no base grant adjustment.
All that being said, this is what we expected to hear after such a historic investment in health centers in the Recovery Act (ARRA). This does not mean, however, that we should accept it.
Indeed, all of your efforts dating back to March when our House and Senate appropriations sign-on letters (Pallone-Bilirakis and Stabenow-Bond) began circulating have been a part of our efforts to demonstrate that for the permanent, base funding of health centers and to continue our health centers expansion, we need to see an increase in the Health Centers program in FY2010. Our request is for the authorized level, or $2.602 billion, and nearly 200 House Members and 60 Senators have indicated their support for this increase.
This Friday will be our first opportunity to hear if our message has broken through. Stay tuned in future posts for a post-markup recap.