As reported in the MPCA eUpdate, the Health Center program faces a looming fiscal cliff. In a nutshell, the Affordable Care Act provided mandatory funding (funding enacted by law but not dependent on the annual appropriation bill) under the Health Center Fund so that Health Centers could expand to care for many of the newly insured and continue to serve the remaining uninsured. The Health Center Fund will expire after fiscal year (FY) 2015, however, resulting in a 70% funding cut to the Health Center program in FY 2016. A cut of this size would force Health Centers to close their doors, lay off staff, and reduce the services they provide, leaving millions of people without access to the health care services they need.
The Campaign for America’s Health Centers (a National Association of Community Health Centers project) is circulating a “fix the cliff” petition. The goal is to collect 25,000 signatures by the end of October to encourage President Obama to include continued mandatory funding for Health Centers in his FY 2015 budget.
Please sign the petition and then ask others to sign, as well. Below are 12 different ways you can encourage others to sign so we can meet (and hopefully exceed) the goal of gathering 25,000 signatures.
- Post on your organization’s website a link to the petition at http://www.saveourchcs.org/Fix-The-Cliff.cfm.
- Share the petition on your Facebook page, Twitter, and other social networking sites. Check out MPCA’s Facebook page for posts you can share.
- Message partnering organizations on Facebook and encourage them to share the link to the online petition on their Facebook page (http://www.saveourchcs.org/Fix-The-Cliff.cfm).
- Are you on Pinterest? If so follow MPCA at http://www.pinterest.com/michpca and pin http://www.pinterest.com/pin/300333868871434664/to your own board.
- Download and print a hardcopy of the petition and make it available in your Health Center patient waiting area. (Be sure to keep track of how many signatures you collect and send your tally to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
- Download and print a hardcopy of the petition and circulate it at community events. (Be sure to keep track of how many signatures you collect and send your tally to email@example.com.)
- Add the Health Center fiscal cliff to the agenda of your October board and staff meetings—encourage all board and staff members to sign the petition and recruit other signers.
- Ask staff at partnering organizations in your community to sign the petition.
- Post an article on your organization’s blog about the Health Center fiscal cliff and include the link to the petition. Feel free to use the information at the beginning of this blog post as a template you can personalize.
- Submit a letter to the editor of your local newspaper explaining the severe consequences of not fixing the fiscal cliff and ask your fellow community residents to sign the petition.
- Is there a computer in the patient waiting area of your Health Center? If so, make the online petition available for people to sign.
- Join the Campaign for America’s Health Centers’ mobile advocacy team to get the latest news about the fiscal cliff and additional opportunities to take action in the future, delivered right to your mobile phone via text. Text ADVOCATE to 69866.