Congress missed a deadline at the end of September to reauthorize funding for the country’s community health centers, which provide access to primary care and other medical services for more than 27 million people nationwide.
While bipartisan negotiators in both the House and Senate are working to push a funding reauthorization bill through Congress in time for Thanksgiving, federally qualified health centers that depend on that federal funding are watching the process closely.
If Congress fails to reauthorize funding by end of the year, then health centers with funding cycles that begin in January may have to begin 2018 with no money from the federal government. The impact could be greater for smaller rural community health centers whose operating budget is more largely dependent on federal dollars.
Andy Behrman, the president of the Florida Association of Community Health Centers, joins Gulf Coast Live, and he is joined by Sarah Hawes with the Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida in Immokalee.