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Many Michiganders stand to lose unless Congress acts on the "other" health care program

Sep 25, 2017

Access to health care for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders may be at risk as a federal funding deadline looms.

More than 40 community health centers provide care for 680,000 Michiganders. But federal funding for them expires this week. 

By one estimate, 100,000 Michiganders could lose their health care access almost immediately.

Ryan Grinnell-Ackerman is the policy & government affairs manager with the Michigan Primary Care Association. 

He admits Washington’s focus on replacing the Affordable Care Act is getting in the way of reauthorizing money for community health centers.

“A lot of other issues, including the health center funding cliff, have kind of hit the back burner,” says Grinnell-Ackerman. “We’re really right now trying to make sure that we are focusing all the attention back on to health programs that work.”

He says concerns about funding have made it difficult for centers to attract new health care providers. 

A congressional committee is expected to take up a reauthorization bill next month. Two Michigan Republicans (Fred Upton and Tim Walberg) and one Democrat (Debbie Dingell) are members of the committee. 

The “Community Health Improvement, Modernization, and Excellence” act or CHIME Act (HR 3770) would provide a five-year funding extension.  

Also U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow sent a letter to her fellow senators encouraging funding for community health centers.