Fight for Health Centers Until the Cliff is Fixed!
Congress failed to pass a health centers funding cliff fix ahead of the September 30 deadline! The September 30 deadline was also critical to programs vital to Health Centers, including the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Teaching Health Centers (THC).
On December 21 Congress passed another Continuing Resolution (CR), funding the federal government through January 19. Long-term health centers and CHIP funding was not included. The December 21 CR contains only “patch” funding for Health Centers, CHIP, the NHSC, Teaching Health Centers, two diabetes programs and the Veteran’s Choice program — providing funding to support the programs through about March. To the best of our understanding, without the “patch” funding, grantees with a January start date were slated to get two months of funding and those with a February start date were to get one month. The “patch” should give grantees with January, February, and March start dates funding through March.
Latest Developments: Health Centers Must be Included with CHIP!
On January 11, we learned that House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Greg Walden (R-OR) may try to move a CHIP funding bill in the House next week. Reports on Thursday indicated that the CHIP funding extension would not include funding for health centers or any of the other so-called “health extenders.”
CCALAC engaged key contacts for each of our Los Angeles representatives, and reached out to staff in each office directly, with the urgent message that health center funding must be included in the CHIP funding measure.
Reports late Thursday indicated that health centers funding may be included, however, the process remains extremely fluid and we have not seen any bill language to this effect.
Congress must act before Friday, January 19 to avoid a government shut down. This short timeline and potential need for advocacy response will require advocates to be prepared for a call to action this week with very little notice.
- It has been over three months since health centers funding expired. This uncertainty is bad for health centers, patients, and staff!
- If a CHIP extension is passed without health center funding attached, it is very difficult to see a path forward for health centers funding in the near future.
- Health centers funding must be included with CHIP reauthorization (either in a stand-alone bill or in the next government spending measure).
- Members of Congress must emphasize to their leadership that health centers must be included with CHIP.
Advocacy Next Steps
- Key Contacts: If you are a “key contact” stay tuned for updates and calls to action from NACHC and CCALAC. Remain engaged with the Representatives you have relationships with.
- CCALAC: Our staff are in touch with staff in the offices of all 15 Los Angeles-area Representatives. We are providing regular updates and getting information back from them that continuously informs our engagement and advocacy strategy.
- Members: Watch for possible large-scale call to action from CCALAC this week with the critical message that health centers funding MUST be included with CHIP.
- For those that wish to weigh in with their Members of Congress right now, you can use the standing Health Center Funding Cliff alert and/or make calls to your Members of Congress using the toll-free Advocacy Hotline 1-866-456-3949
The situation is still developing, and decisions are still being made about what will be included in a spending package next week (CHIP, DACA, disaster relief funding, etc.). At this point it is not even totally clear if CHIP and health centers funding would be included in the spending bill or a separate measure. Stay tuned for updates and calls to action.
CCALAC remains committed to saving our collective advocacy energy and bandwidth for when and where it will be most impactful.
Check out http://www.hcadvocacy.org/takeaction for other ways to get involved!
Health Center Funding Cliff Resources
- NACHC FAQ: Health Centers with January 1, 2018 Budget Start Date
- Cliff Impact Info-graphic (national)
- Funding Cliff Impact Estimator tool
- Health Center Funding Cliff 101
- HR 3770 CHIME Act and Current Cosponsors
- Funding Cliff Calculator (Produce a printable info-graphic demonstrating potential impact on your health center)
- Explainer Chart – Health Center Funding Cliff (Visual representation of the cliff)
- Infographic: Federal CHC investments in FY15 and FY16
- Explainer – Mandatory vs. Discretionary Funding (two important components of federal health center funding)
- NACHC March 2016 Policy Paper – Investing in Community Health