by Dennis Walto
Today marked an important step forward for the health and well-being of America’s most medically underserved children. With the early morning passage of a budget deal, Congress finally lifted the cloud of uncertainty that hovered over many essential health programs that serve as a lifeline to our nation’s most vulnerable.
The budget that was passed includes an additional 4-year funding extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program — bringing the program’s overall extension to 10 years. That is, 10 years where a crucial program covering some 9 million children won’t be held hostage as a political bargaining chip. In addition, funding for Community Health Centers, which Congress had let expire at the end of September, was approved and increased. This hits close to home for us as many of Children’s Health Fund programs fall under this category.
The agreement also provides more than $600 million over the next two years for the National Health Service Corps, a rarely mentioned but crucial program that brings over 10,000 medical professionals to sustain health care services for rural and underserved communities.
In total, Community Health Centers serve over 27 million people in America in 10,400 rural and urban locations. Thanks to the passing of the budget deal, 27 million patients can continue seeing their trusted health care provider knowing that their community medical home will remain open and that health care providers will be there to assist them. This continued funding, enabled by your vocal activism, helps us to ensure that children and families receive access to the quality care that they so desperately need.
We couldn’t think of better news to end our week! And with your continued support, and these supplemental government funds, we expect to provide more services, to more children, in more places than ever this year!