Washington, DC -- Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21), author of the bipartisan the Community Health Investment, Modernization and Excellence (CHIME) Act of 2017, released the following statement after the House Energy and Commerce Committee successfully passed legislation to extend Community Health Center funding for two years:
“This is a very important development and I applaud Chairman Walden and Members of the Energy and Commerce Committee for making this a priority,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “While I believe a five-year reauthorization would be the best solution, this legislation means Community Health Centers will be protected and the over 95,000 patients in our district who use them will continue to have access to care. I will continue to push forward on this important issue and work with my colleagues to have this measure passed through Congress and signed into law.”
“I thank Congresswoman Stefanik for leading this important effort to protect funding for Community Health Centers nationwide,” said Greg Walden, Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. “Congresswoman Stefanik’s bipartisan effort played an important role in discussions surrounding ways to extend federal funding of this important program, and I look forward to continuing to work with her to see this vital funding be authorized and signed into law.”
Congresswoman Stefanik is the author of the CHIME Act which would have authorized funding for five years and has over 180 bipartisan cosponsors.
Community Health Centers are the primary care medical home for more than 26 million Americans living in every state and territory. With bipartisan support from Congress, the more than 1,400 health center organizations nationwide provide access to high-quality primary and preventive care, while integrating behavioral health, dental, substance abuse and other critical services for their patients. Health Centers are a cost-effective provider of care, having been proven to save 24% in total Medicaid spending when compared to other providers.
Total funding for the Health Centers program currently stands at $5.1 billion annually. Of this total, $3.6 billion comes from the Community Health Centers Fund (CHCF), a dedicated source of funding that was extended for two years in 2015. This funding expired on September 30th.
According to estimates from the Department of Human Services, a funding cut of this magnitude to the Health Centers program would result in over 9 million patients losing access to care, cost 50,000 jobs in economically hard-hit communities across the nation, and force 2,800 health center locations to shut their doors.