The Washington Independent takes a closer look at one of the key domestic spending cuts in the GOP continuing resolution, ending funding for community health centers for this year.
The proposal comes as part of a plan to fund the remainder of the current fiscal year. The current budget plan will eliminate $100 billion in spending for the remainder of the current fiscal year. Congress has to approve funding, either by continuing resolution or by final budget allocation, by March 4, of the government runs out of cash.
The GOP took over the U.S. House promising to cut $100 billion from the budget, but an earlier Republican proposal only cut $74 billion, and the Tea Party politicians raised a ruckus, resulting in a proposal to cut the remaining $26 billion.
Included in that $100 billion cut is a line item to reduce funding for Community Health Centers by $1.3 billion. Nationwide, the programs serve 20 million people, says Dana Lawrence, communications manager for the Michigan Primary Care Association. In Michigan, there are 29 federal recognized Community Health Centers serving 600,000 patients....
But these numbers only tell part of the story. Under the Affordable Care Act, Community Health Centers are envisioned as a key point of entry and expansion of access to medical care. It the cut comes through as proposed, Lawrence says that will halt that expansion in its tracks.
The CHC expansion was one of the linchpins to providing actual healthcare in the Affordable Care Act--beyond insurance reform, this funding meant more people could actually get affordable care. But more immediately, there are 20 million people out there who have no other means of getting preventive care, and it's back to the one of the problems that's been driving healthcare costs--expensive emergency room care for illnesses that could have been prevented or lessened if caught and treated early.
Basic math, basic cause and effect, which apparently the GOP en masse has failed to comprehend. Or they actually want as many people as possible to get horribly and expensively ill and die. But you can't rule out the likelihood that they are actually both stupid and venal, so let's go with that. That's a culture of life for you.