Investing in the Health of our Communities

By Cecilia Muñoz, Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council
November 7, 2013

Last week, I had the opportunity to travel back to my home state of Michigan, to Southwest Detroit, where I visited a local Community Health Center and participated in an Affordable Care Act enrollment event put on by State Representative Rashida Tlaib.

The event provided an opportunity for Detroiters to ask question about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, and for those without insurance, how to get covered.

It was a well-attended event that included Detroiters from all walks of life, many of whom use Community Health Centers as their primary course of care.  State Representative Tlaib even shared with me that growing up in Detroit, she came to that very health center for care.

These truly critical hubs provide vital health services to their communities.

That’s why I’m so excited that today we are announcing new grants provided to communities under the Affordable Care Act. These grants will continue to make a big difference in helping community health centers provide access to primary care services for nearly 1.25 million new patients.

These awards will focus on underserved areas and health centers that can provide culturally competent care and primary care. 

As I saw first-hand in Detroit, the Community Health Centers also serve as centers of education and outreach to people without insurance or without a primary care doctor who are looking for insurance options.  These Centers also have staff who can help you enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace or Medicaid.

This is also a big deal for the Latino community – today, 1 out of every 3 patients served by Community Health Centers is Latino. Community Health Centers play a critical role in providing care to all kinds of underserved communities.

Since 2009, health centers have served 4 million new patients and they now serve more than 21 million people each year.

In the last four years, through the Recovery Act and the Affordable Care Act, HHS has supported nearly 450 New Access Points, increasing access to care for nearly 2.5 million patients across the country.

At a time when we are focused on making sure as many Americans as possible know about the new health care options they can sign up for through the federal and state Marketplaces, it is also critical to make sure we are boosting access to quality health care services.

These funds will be vital in helping us achieve that goal, in bolstering the great work already being done by community health centers throughout the country, and most importantly – in making sure patients can get the health care they need, when they need it.

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