01 Dec An Update on the Health Center Funding Cliff from NACHC President & CEO, Tom Van Coverden
Dear friends –
I’m writing today to share with you an update on where we stand in our ongoing effort to address the funding cliff that threatens more than 70% of health centers’ federal grant funding. With each of your active engagement, we have spent the bulk of the year pushing hard and making the case to Congress about the value of health centers and the necessity of continued investment for our patients’ and communities’ health.
On December 7th, Congress passed a “Continuing Resolution” (CR) that extends government funding for two weeks. This allowed Congress to avert a government shutdown and buy time to address the outstanding issues which have piled up as we approach year’s end—including, importantly, fixing the health center funding cliff. The two-week stopgap measure did not include a long-term fix to the cliff, nor did it include long-term solutions to any of the more than a dozen other “health extenders,” like the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which also have faced expiration of funding.
Still, we remain optimistic that with your ongoing engagement and advocacy, the cliff will be addressed before Congress adjourns for the end of the year. We have received strong assurances from key Congressional leaders—House and Senate, Democrat and Republican—that this is their intention. We know there is broad support for health centers and our mission, and no specific opposition to our fix. And yet, given the crowded legislative calendar and the long to-do list of items to be accomplished, we cannot rest on our laurels at this late stage. We each have to engage once more to get this over the finish line.
I’m asking each of you to personally recommit to weighing in with your Members of Congress—Senators and House Members, Democrats, Republicans, Independents alike. Share the urgency your health center feels around the need for this fix, and the impact that continued inaction would have. We have worked hard to provide you templates and tools to make this advocacy as effective as possible, all of which can be found at www.hcadvocacy.org.
As we approach the holidays, I want to wish each of you a happy and healthy season and a happy new year. I’m confident that with our collective voice raised in the coming weeks, we’ll have a major legislative achievement to celebrate.