(Boston, MA)- Statement from Health Care For All's Executive Director Amy Rosenthal regarding the Senate vote to end the Federal Government Shutdown:
“Health Care For All (HCFA) is relieved that the spending bill just approved by the U.S. Senate to end the three-day government shutdown includes funding to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six additional years. This will ensure continuity of care for 172,000 children in Massachusetts who depend on this program to access the health care services they need. Some states saw their funding dry up at the end of September and the Commonwealth would have faced difficult decisions regarding the state budget without that reauthorization.
“This compromise, however, falls short of meeting all the needs of our communities. Funding for community health centers is still on the line even with the promise that it will be taken up by Congress before the February 8th deadline, when this spending package expires. Community health centers are a vital part of our neighborhoods. They lower health care costs by providing preventive services, chronic disease management and reducing visits to emergency rooms. They are on the frontline of the opioid epidemic and have become the only provider for mental and oral health services for thousands of people in the Commonwealth. Access to health care should not be a bargaining chip for Congress to play politics with.
“In addition, the bill doesn’t provide the needed long-term solution for DREAMers. The status of 12,000 young residents in the Commonwealth is currently in limbo after the Trump Administration decided to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). These young people, who were brought to this country by their parents in the search for a better future, deserve an opportunity to thrive and contribute to our society.
“HCFA encourages Congress to fulfill the promise to tackle these two important issues. They should come up with an agreement as soon as possible that includes a legal pathway for DREAMers and needed funding for community health centers. They cannot and should not have to wait.”
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Health Care For All (HCFA) is a Massachusetts nonprofit advocacy organization working to create a health care system that provides comprehensive, affordable, accessible, and culturally competent care to everyone, especially the most vulnerable among us. We achieve this as leaders in public policy, advocacy, education and service to consumers in Massachusetts. For more information about HCFA, visit our website at www.hcfama.org. You can also call our free HelpLine (800) 272-4232 if you need help applying for health insurance.