Congress is Back, and Health Reform is Issue #1, 2, 3, 4, 5…..

… from the NACHC Health Centers on the Hill Blog

Today, Congress returns to Washington.  Tomorrow, President Obama addresses a joint session of Congress, and the nation, in a late-inning push to find a deal that will make meaningful health care reform a reality.  So where do we stand?

On the substance of reform, many would say (and I’d generally agree) that there’s overall agreement on perhaps 80% of what must be done.  We should regulate insurance companies so they don’t discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions or folks who lose their jobs.  We should require that everyone purchase coverage, and create a new national marketplace where they can do so (with subsidies to help lower-income people with the cost).  We should expand the Medicaid program to cover more of those in need, and we should invest in prevention and wellness programs.

The other area of general concensus is that in order to ensure that the promise of expanded coverage becomes the reality of quality care for all, the nation must invest in the growth of programs like Health Centers and the National Health Service Corps.  Each proposal released thus far (four out of five Congressional Committees have acted) includes a call for significant growth in the primary care safety net through these vital programs.  Every health center advocate will be called on to do his or her part in the months ahead to make sure that investment is included in the final bill, and that it is matched with guarantees that health centers will be full and fair participants in any new system.

The sticking points boil down to two big ones… Continue Reading Here

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