Readout of HHS Secretary Becerra’s Meeting with the National Association of Community Health Centers CEO Dr. Kyu Rhee
During the meeting, the Secretary reiterated his commitment to continue support for community health centers across the nation
On Friday, December 1, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra met with Dr. Kyu Rhee, CEO of the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). This meeting builds on previous conversations and engagements between HHS and NACHC.
During the meeting, Secretary Becerra highlighted the results of the important work done by the Department and the Biden-Harris Administration to support community health centers. The Secretary and Dr. Rhee also discussed the efforts of the Department to protect healthcare coverage, combat COVID-19, and lower the cost of the prescription drugs. At the conclusion of their meeting, the Secretary and Dr. Rhee agreed to continue working together to meet their common goals.
HHS, through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), supports approximately 1,400 health centers operate nearly 15,000 service sites. In 2022, health centers provided care for more than 30 million patients, 90 percent of whom had incomes below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. A 2022 survey of 4,000 health center patients nationwide found 97% would recommend their health center to family and friends.
HRSA’s Health Center Program is a cornerstone of our country’s health care system, especially for individuals and families who are uninsured; enrolled in Medicaid; living in rural, remote, or underserved areas; struggling to afford their health insurance co-pays; experiencing homelessness; residing in public housing; or otherwise having difficulty finding a doctor or paying for the cost of care.
HHS is implementing a number of policies and programs that help lower health care costs for Americans and maximize the number of people with affordable, high-quality health care coverage. Thanks to President Biden’s new lower cost prescription drug law (the Inflation Reduction Act), a month's supply of each Medicare-covered insulin is capped at $35, and recommended, preventive vaccines are now free for people with Medicare prescription drug coverage.
Furthermore, for the first time ever, the law allows Medicare to negotiate better prices for prescription drugs – strengthening the program’s ability to serve people with Medicare now and for generations to come. On October 3, 2023 HHS announced that all 10 drug companies whose drugs were selected for price negotiation with Medicare for the first cycle of the program have signed agreements to participate in those negotiations.
CDC’s new Bridge Access Program partners with chain pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS to ensure those without health insurance can receive a COVID vaccine at no cost. To date, through the pharmacy channel, more than 524,000 people have already received their vaccine.
Finally, HHS has worked extensively with state Medicaid agencies to make Medicaid and CHIP renewals easier for people, and troubleshoot operational issues. This has included partnering with health plans, health care providers, federally qualified health centers, home visiting programs, early childhood providers, advocates, and civil rights, faith-based, health industry, employers, and other community-organizations.