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Access to Affordable Health Care Endangered During Tough Economic Times

August 12, 2011 Comments off

Access to Affordable Health Care Endangered During Tough Economic Times
Source: National Association of Community Health Centers

A report released today shows that a growing number of Americans affected by the economic downturn — including middle class families — are turning to Community Health Centers for their health care needs. An estimated 60 million Americans — many of whom have health insurance — do not have access to primary care because of a shortage of providers.

The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) released the Access Endangered: Profiles of the Medically Disenfranchised report to highlight the stories of Americans who currently rely on Community Health Centers and whose access may be in jeopardy. The report was released as the U.S. Congress and State Legislatures debate broad fiscal austerity measures that could weaken the future of Community Health Centers and Medicaid.

“Access to quality affordable health care is increasingly becoming a problem for America’s middle class families,” said Dan Hawkins, Senior Vice President for Policy and Research at NACHC. “People who lose their jobs typically lose their health coverage too — and if they find new work, often it comes without the same health care coverage. This growing need is where Community Health Centers become critical, so this is the worst possible time for lawmakers to weaken Community Health Centers and Medicaid.”

Among the report’s findings:

  • For every $1 million in federal funding cuts, health centers lose the capacity to serve 8,297 patients.
  • Community Health Centers are increasingly a more affordable option for the working poor. In fact, one in four low-income and uninsured working adults relies on health centers for care.
  • The number of uninsured patients at health centers grew by 36 percent nationally from 2004-2009, yet state funding to health centers has decreased by 42 percent in the last two years.

+ Full Report (PDF)

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