There has never been a more important time for Health Center advocates to take action and use one unified voice to educate lawmakers about the value of Health Centers for patients, communities, and the health care system.
As Congress and the Administration discuss the budget deficit and the FY 2012 budget, the Health Centers Program faces very real, very serious threats. If you thought the $1 billion cut in Health Center funding that passed the U.S House earlier this year and the $600 billion cut that Congress and the President eventually agreed on for the remainder of FY 2011 was bad news for Health Centers and our patients, those changes could be just the beginning.
The House has also passed a budget that calls for block granting the Medicaid program and cutting it by $1.4 trillion over the next 10 years. If that were to be enacted into law, Health Centers could see their Medicaid revenue cut by 50% or more immediately. Even more “moderate” proposals could have nearly the same devastating effect. We simply CAN NOT let that happen; but to stop it, we will need a grassroots effort on a scale we have not seen before. This mobilization is the first chance for us to demonstrate that we can make that happen.
To that end, NACHC is launching a new Campaign for America’s Health Centers. Every Health Center staff member, board member, patient, and supporter MUST get actively involved. If not US, then WHO is going to protect and shape the future of Health Centers?
Below are the top 10 ways you can take action:
- Join NACHC’s Teleforum next Wednesday, June 29 at 2 pm ET to learn about the Campaign for America’s Health Centers and gear up for the National Medicaid Mobilization Day on June 30.
- Organize your Health Center to participate in the National Medicaid Mobilization Day on June 30. Plan for ways to get as many people as possible to call the Congressional negotiators and the White House on June 30 to deliver this simple message: “Do not undermine the successful Health Centers Program as you negotiate Medicaid changes and cuts to the federal budget.”
- Invite your Members of Congress to your Health Center or meet with them during the July recess. The Senate will be on recess July 2-10; the House will be on recess July 16-24. Talk to them about the importance of Medicaid for Health Centers. Click here for Michigan-specific talking points.
- Plan events for National Health Center Week and invite Members of Congress to attend. Discuss with them the critical need for continued support for the Health Centers program and the importance of Medicaid for Health Centers and their patients.
- Pass a board resolution supporting the Campaign for America’s Health Centers at your next board meeting.
- Engage patients by circulating the campaign petition in your Health Center’s waiting rooms and ask them to sign on or write their own letters to their Members of Congress.
- Engage local elected officials and other community organizations/business by circulating a sign-on letter of support or resolution to support your Health Center.
- Recruit as many new advocates as possible – staff members, board members, patients, community members – by asking them to join NACHC’s Grassroots Action Center.
- Send letters to the editor or opinion-editorials to your local newspapers.
- Collect stories of patients who would be negatively impacted by cuts in Medicaid and the possible reduction of services at your Health Center as a result of major Medicaid cuts.