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Community Health Centers Outreach and Enrollment

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Washington, DC
July 10, 2013

Good morning.  I’m pleased to be joined by Mary and Jim to announce the latest steps we’re taking to help millions of Americans get ready to enroll in quality, affordable health insurance plans this fall.

Today, we’re announcing that we’ve awarded $150 million to nearly 1,200 community health centers across the country.  This funding—which was made possible by the Affordable Care Act—will help health centers reach uninsured Americans and get them signed up for coverage in the new Marketplace this fall.

Our national network of health centers serves more than 21 million patients each year, many of whom are uninsured.  They are trusted resources—not only of care, but of information—in some of the neighborhoods that stand to benefit most from the expansion of health coverage.  They have the ear of so many of the Americans we’re trying to educate about the Marketplace this summer and fall.  And these awards will help them do just that.

All told, this funding will allow those nearly 1,200 community health centers to assist up to an estimated 3.7 million Americans with enrollment.  The awards will go towards things like hiring almost 3,000 new outreach workers, training staff, creating bilingual education materials, and boosting technological capacity.

As you know, the next few months represent an unprecedented opportunity for millions of Americans to get connected with the security that quality, affordable health coverage provides—in some cases for the first time ever.  Education and outreach will be a critical part of seizing that opportunity.  And because of the role they play in thousands of communities across the country, health centers are uniquely positioned to contribute to our educational and outreach efforts.

Of course, today’s announcement is just one piece of our progress when it comes to getting ready for October 1st.  We recently announced an initiative with America’s libraries—which, like health centers, are another trusted institution in countless communities nationwide.  And we’re pleased that many libraries will serve as convenient locations for families to get information about the Marketplace this summer and to enroll for coverage this fall.

In addition, I’ll be traveling to communities across the country between now and October to help get the word out about enrollment.  Today I’ll be visiting one of our health center award recipients, the Mountain Park Health Center in Phoenix, Arizona.  And after that I’ll be in different cities nearly every week, helping to shine a light on our education and outreach efforts, and speaking to people from all corners of our country about the enormous opportunity we have ahead of us.

Additionally, we’re pleased that members of the business community are joining in the effort to get Americans enrolled.  Just this morning, Walgreens announced that they’ll be partnering with Blue Cross Blue Shield to help educate people about the law so that they’ll be ready for October.

Over the summer, we’ll continue to build on the incredible momentum we’ve seen so far.  We know it won’t be easy.  So many Americans have spent their whole lives being frustrated, gouged, or turned away by our health care system—and connecting them with the information they need to finally get quality, affordable coverage is a huge undertaking.  But the challenge of enrollment pales in comparison to the benefits that millions of American families stand to gain.  That’s why we’re doing this.  And we have a robust plan to get the job done.

Thank you again for joining us.  And now, I’d like to turn things over to Mary.