MPCA Applauds Senator Stabenow for Supporting Community Health Centers as Partners in Health Care Reform

On behalf of Michigan’s 32 Community Health Centers, Michigan Primary Care Association applauds Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) for supporting amendments to the Senate Finance Committee’s health care reform legislation, America’s Healthy Future Act of 2009, which are critical to strengthening Community Health Centers and expanding access to health care for their patients.

One amendment, championed by Senators Olympia Snowe (D-ME), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), would provide fiscal relief for Community Health Centers that have been caring for the nation’s elderly.  Since the early 1990s, there has been a cap on Medicare payments to Health Centers, causing 75% of Health Centers across the country to lose money serving Medicare patients.  If enacted into law, this amendment would ensure that more seniors have full access to health care at Community Health Centers in Michigan and across the country.

A second amendment, spearheaded by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), and Kent Conrad (D-ND), would ensure that private insurance plans operating through the new “health insurance exchanges” pay Community Health Centers no less than the fair and predictable rate they currently receive under Medicaid.

Passage of these two amendments signals solid support for the role Community Health Centers will play in health care reform and this nation’s future health care system.

A third amendment, championed by Senator Stabenow, requires exchange plans to contract with Health Centers and other safety net providers.  Senator Stabenow is working with other supporters of this provision to ensure it is included in the final Senate bill and in the bill eventually signed into law.

“Community Health Centers are deeply grateful to Senator Stabenow and her colleagues for successfully moving these amendments, and continuing to work for broader provisions,” said Kim Sibilsky, Executive Director, Michigan Primary Care Association.  “Michigan Primary Care Association looks forward to working with the Senator on these provisions, and Community Health Centers stand ready to serve as the health care home of choice for Americans under the reformed health care system.”

Michigan Community Health Centers provide comprehensive, accessible, affordable, quality primary and preventive care in 160 delivery sites across the state to over half a million patients including low-income, uninsured, underinsured, minority, migrant/seasonal farmworker, and homeless individuals.  To locate a Health Center near you, go to www.mpca.net

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