As health care reform totally consumes every health care junkie in the nation’s Capital and many around the country, it is easy to forget about that other critical activity that happens each June and July in the US House and Senate- consideration of the annual appropriations bills! But for this NACHC staffer, and for those of you that have been hearing from me, Marc, Amanda, or one of our terrific NACHC regional field organizers, appropriations is still a hot topic. This year, our advocacy efforts around appropriations are perhaps more important than ever before- and that is not overstating the situation. Some in Congress may see the stimulus funding as replacing our need for an annual appropriations increase, and with the President’s proposed level funding, making our case got a little bit harder. However, I am always encouraged by the reports I get from our fantastic grassroots about the efforts you’ve made contacting those on the House and Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittees to make the case about how critical our health centers funding increase is. But we can always do more!
I’ve also been holding dozens of meetings with appropriators’ staffers, going over the nitty-gritty about why our stimulus funding is different than our annual appropriations and why we simply cannot afford to freeze the Health Centers program. As is always the case, however, we won’t know how we fared until the House Labor-HHS Subcommittee marks up its bill the week after this coming July 4th recess and the Senate Labor-HHS Subcommittee takes up its bill later in July. If you’ll be seeing a member of one of the Appropriations Committees over recess, drop me or another NACHC staffer a line and we can provide you with all the background info you need. Our fact sheet on FY2010 Approps. can be found here, and for additional resources, you can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.