House GOP leaders are reportedly looking at a 2-month stopgap measure to keep the government open past next week in a deal that would fund community health centers, which serve 27 million Americans, for 2 years. Without a deal with Democrats, the government shuts down February 8.
House GOP leaders are reportedly looking at a 2-month stopgap measure to keep the government open past next week in a deal that would fund community health centers, which serve 27 million Americans, for 2 years.
The report said the deal is meant to attract Democrats in a bid to vote affirmatively on a continuing resolution (CR). Without it, the government shuts down February 8.
At stake is a fund making up 70% of community health centers' federal funding. As with the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the program generally has enjoyed bipartisan support. But like CHIP, its last Congressional reauthorization expired on Sept. 30.
A 6-year deal to fund CHIP and reopen the government after a brief shutdown was included in the last stopgap measure passed last month.
The current stopgap spending bill of $550 million for community health centers expires March 31, but centers are running out of money now.
Amy Simmons, a spokeswoman for the National Association of Community Health Centers, said they are “optimistic” that the CR will include a funding fix for the centers. She said a letter being distributed by Rep. Elise M. Stefanik, R-New York, is getting a significant amount of support from House Republicans.
According to the Commonwealth Fund, 51,000 workers would be laid off and 9 million people (more than one-third of all CHC patients) would lose access to services if funding is not restored soon. In addition, children enrolled in CHIP who get their healthcare at CHCs would also be left without services. Moreover, many children who receive healthcare through CHIP do so at CHCs, so they would lose access to services as well.