02.06.18

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Joins Bipartisan Push for Community Health Centers Funding

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined a bipartisan group of Senators, led by Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), in calling on Senate leadership to immediately reauthorize funding for community health centers. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), the Senators expressed their strong support for community health centers, which provide access to cost-effective primary and preventive care for families across the country.  

“Community health centers serve a vital function, providing affordable health care to our nation’s most vulnerable citizens,” the Senators wrote. “They provide quality medical, dental, vision and behavioral health care to more than 27 million patients, including 330,000 of our nation’s veterans and 8 million children, at over 10,000 sites nationwide. … Without extension of the Community Health Center Fund (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 approximately 9 million Americans losing access to their health care.” 

As the Senators note in their letter, the CHCF expired on September 30, 2017. The failure to reauthorize the fund has jeopardized access to care for millions of Americans, and made it difficult for community health centers to adequately plan for everything from staffing needs to securing loans for capital projects.

In addition to Senators Baldwin, Blunt and Stabenow, the Senators who signed on to today’s letter include: Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), John Boozman (R-AR), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Steve Daines (R-MT), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Dean Heller (R-NV), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), John Hoeven (R-ND), James Inhofe (R-OK), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Doug Jones (D-AL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), John Kennedy (R-LA), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ed Markey (D-MA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Gary Peters (D-MI), Rob Portman (R-OH), Jack Reed (D-RI), James Risch (R-ID), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jon Tester (D-MT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Roger Wicker (R-MS). The full letter is available here.

Senator Baldwin has been a strong advocate for reauthorizing funding for community health centers. In September, Senator Baldwin joined a bipartisan group of 70 Senators in calling for immediate action to extend critical funding for community health centers. In a letter to the Senate HELP Committee Chairman and Ranking Member, the Senators expressed their strong support for community health centers, which provide access to cost-effective primary and preventive care for families across the country. In October, Senator Baldwin joined Senators Stabenow and Blunt as a cosponsor of the Community Health Investment, Modernization, and Excellence (CHIME) Act, which would reauthorize the 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.