Two Community Health Center leaders are headed to the nation’s capital Tuesday evening to attend the President’s State of the Union (SOTU) address to Congress. Long considered one of the highest honors a Member of Congress can bestow upon visitors to Washington, Lolita Lopez from Westside Family Healthcare in Wilmington, Delaware, and Dr. Suzanne Lagarde from Fair Haven Community Health Care in New Haven, Connecticut, will be attending the SOTU as guests of their local Representatives – Lisa Blunt Rochester (D – DE) and Rosa DeLauro (D – CT) ‒ and as standard-bearers for Community Health Centers across the country. SOTU addresses often touch upon bipartisan themes of better health care, a stronger economy, and support for the military; however, Suzanne and Lolita are taking their own bipartisan message to Congress: fix the health center funding cliff now!
The President’s address kicks off a make or break moment for health centers and the 27 million patients who depend upon them for high quality, cost-effective health care. With just over a week left before Congress must pass a government spending package, health centers are standing up and making it clear that any bill must include a fix to the health center funding cliff. Over the next week, Suzanne and Lolita’s message will be echoed throughout the House and Senate, in every Congressional district, and on social media accounts around the nation. Already, dozens of health centers have started preparing for Congressional visits on February 6 and thousands of other advocates are planning a “Day of Demonstration” and wearing red to support our patients.
Leaders in Washington have a chance to act boldly and wisely in support of health center funding, and both parties have already gone on record in support of fixing the cliff. By fixing the cliff in the next continuing resolution, Congress can ensure that health centers remain the bedrock of the health care safety net for years to come, provide an economic boost for local communities, shore up critical public health efforts, and bolster veterans’ health when they return home from battle. These are all bipartisan priorities that Congress can, and will, address with the support of health center leaders like Lolita, Suzanne, and the collective strength of the Health Center Advocacy Network.
After four months of inaction, we need every single advocate to stand by Lolita and Suzanne and participate in the Day of Demonstration on February 6, ensuring that Congress makes Community Health Center funding a priority in the next continuing resolution. The health of 27 million patients, and the “state of our union,” depends upon Congress providing long-term funding for health centers immediately. To learn more about the Day of Demonstration or to plan your visit to Washington, please visit www.hcadvocacy.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, stay tuned to the NACHC blog, Facebook, and Twitter for the latest news from Washington.