Senate appropriator blasts GOP cut to community health centers

Senate Appropriations Chair Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) on Tuesday criticized proposed cuts to community health centers in House Republicans' stop-gap budget proposal for the rest of the year.

"The Republican proposal would eliminate funding for 127 clinics in 39 States (and two territories) and reduce services at another 1,096 Community Health Centers nation-wide," says Inouye's detailed analysis of the Continuing Resolution. "More than 2.8 million people would likely lose access to their current primary care provider and over 5,000 health center staff could lose their jobs."

The president's 2012 budget proposal, by contrast, builds on the healthcare reform law by boosting investment in the health centers. The budget includes $3.3 billion for the Health Centers Program, including $1.2 billion in mandatory funding provided through the Affordable Care Act Community Health Center Fund.

"The infusion of funding provided through the Affordable Care Act, combined with the discretionary request for FY 2012, will enable health centers to serve 900,000 new patients and increase access to medical, oral, and behavioral health services to a total of 24 million patients," the HHS budget proposal states.