Dear Health Center Advocates,
As we begin 2015, we begin the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Health Center Program. From their beginnings as part of the War on Poverty, 50 years ago until today, Health Centers have played a unique role in America’s healthcare system by providing access to quality healthcare to everyone in the communities they serve, regardless of patients’ ability to pay.
Yet now, as we celebrate that legacy of success, we are also faced with the biggest threat to the Health Center Program since its creation 50 years ago. The Health Center Funding Cliff – a looming 70% reduction in funding for the Health Center Program hangs over the program’s golden anniversary. Without action by Congress, this devastating reduction in Health Center funding will occur this fall and, if that happens, millions of people that Health Centers were created to serve will no longer have access to care.
I am sending you this message today because as a Health Center Advocate YOU have the power to preserve the Health Center Program and ensure a healthy future for Health Centers and the patients they serve. Congress MUST ACT to avert this funding cliff and, while we have all been working hard for months now to get Congress to act, the issue has not yet been addressed.
It is clear that Congress will not act to fix the cliff unless YOU and EVERY Health Center Advocate takes action in the weeks and months ahead by relentlessly calling, emailing and personally meeting with your Members of Congress. With so many contentious issues to be addressed this year, we have to break through the noise and partisan rhetoric to get Congress to act. We MUST tell the story of what fixing the cliff means locally and make taking action an immediate priority for every Member of Congress. The only way that can happen is if you and the community leaders you recruit as Health Center Advocates make it clear to Congress what their failure to fix the Health Center Funding Cliff would mean to your patients and your community. Use the cliff estimator tool to help estimate the impact of the funding cliff to your Health Center.
For 50 years, Health Center Advocates like you have preserved and built this incredible Health Center Movement. No matter which way the political winds have blown, grassroots advocates like you made sure that elected officials, opinion leaders, the media and other important partners knew the health center story and made possible the 50 year legacy of success we celebrate this year.
Today, I am personally asking YOU to step up and to redouble your advocacy to ensure that the legacy of success built by your Health Center Movement will continue. Right NOW, we need you to help us build and mobilize our advocacy army by asking your friends, family and colleagues to sign up as Health Center Advocates and to take action. I’m asking you to recommit yourself to taking action whenever called upon – that means taking as little as three minutes to send an email or make a phone call (toll free) to your Members of Congress. I’m asking you to commit to personally asking your Member of Congress to fix the funding cliff, repeatedly if necessary.
There is much at stake this year for Health Centers and their patients and failure is simply not an option!
Tom Van Coverden
President & CEO, NACHC