by Kaitlin McColganm
Yesterday, President Obama unveiled his health reform proposal, largely a series of proposed revisions to the Senate-passed health reform legislation.
You’ll remember that the Senate-passed health reform bill contained $8.5 billion in new funding for the Health Centers program over 5 years, $1.5 billion of that for capital. The House-passed health reform bill contained $12 billion over 5 years for health centers.
The President’s proposal echoes those two earlier bills by calling for guaranteed funding for health centers and proposing a compromise level of funding: $11 billion over 5 years, including a portion of that funding for capital. The President’s proposal also seems to leave intact the Senate-passed “Menendez” provision, providing health centers at least their Medicaid PPS rate under new private “exchange” plans.
The President’s proposal to increase the health centers funding over the Senate bill was unquestionably a positive development in the health reform process for health centers. Perhaps more important, however, was the affirmation this funding provided on the eve of a pivotal meeting between leaders of the House and Senate that access to care will remain a part of the discussion in the days to come.
This Thursday, members of both parties head to the White House for what may be the most candid debate on health reform by political leaders on both sides to date. The very same day, health centers from across the country head to Capitol Hill with our legislative agenda. One thing is for sure; it is going to be quite a week in the nation’s Capital for health centers. Hope to see you here!