Jim Clyburn Aims to Expand Community Health Centers
House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-SC) teamed up with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to announce legislation Thursday that would extend and expand funding for community health centers and the National Health Service Corps. If Congress doesn’t act by September 30th, community health centers will lose the federal funding they need to keep their doors open. The lawmakers’ measure would allow 5.4 million more Americans to receive the primary care they need. Community health centers provide high-quality primary medical, dental, mental health care, substance use disorder treatment, and low-cost prescription drugs to 28 million people in 11,000 communities in every state in the country. “I have often described the Affordable Care Act as the Civil Rights Act of the 21st Century because it banned many forms of discrimination in the healthcare system. The ACA was a critical piece of legislation that also dramatically expanded the federal funding for community health centers,” Clyburn said. “This legislation builds on the steps taken by the ACA to further expand community health centers by ensuring the millions of Americans who get primary care from community health centers continue to receive care and expands access to more medically-underserved communities.” Clyburn and Sanders said that community health centers and the National Health Service Corps would see a 10% increase in funding each year for five years. The legislation also includes $4.6 billion for capital projects, which will allow community health centers across the nation to modernize their facilities and expand the scope of services they offer to better address the opioid epidemic and to meet the health care needs of an expanding patient base. Each year, community health centers generate more than $24 billion in savings to the entire U.S. healthcare system. Over 220,000 people are employed by community health centers, and they generate nearly $55 billion in total economic activity. More here.