WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin joined U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) as a cosponsor of the Community Health Investment, Modernization, and Excellence (CHIME) Act, which would reauthorize the Community Health Center Fund (CHCF) and the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) for five years. In addition, the bipartisan bill provides four percent increases for the CHCF and NHSC every year beginning in FY2019.
“Families across the state of Wisconsin rely on the 17 community health centers across our state for critical, quality and affordable health care services, including preventative care, vision services and low-cost dental care,” said Senator Baldwin. “Without immediate action to continue funding for these critical providers, more than 30 thousand Wisconsinites could lose access to care. We must act now on this bipartisan legislation to help keep these vital community health centers open and serving their communities.”
Community health centers are a critical component of the nation’s primary care network, serving approximately 26 million patients at over 10,000 sites throughout the United States. Community health centers operate in both rural and urban areas, in every state in the nation. Last year, health centers were the medical home for one in twelve Americans, one in ten children, one in six Americans living in rural areas, and more than 330,000 of our nation’s veterans.
Without extension of the CHCF, community health centers will lose seventy percent of their funding. This will result in an estimated 2,800 site closures, the loss of 50,000 jobs, and result in 9 million Americans losing their access to care.
Earlier this month, Senator Baldwin joined a bipartisan group of Senators in calling for immediate action to extend critical funding for community health centers before funding runs out.
The CHIME Act is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Susan Collins (R-ME), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Roger Wicker (R-MS).