Most of the time we read in the news about what’s going wrong with health care: crowded emergency rooms, growing numbers of uninsured families, and health care costs that are going through the roof. But there is something going right in health care and Congress has the chance to ensure its continuing success. Our health center here in Soldotna, Alaska works, every day to make sure that everyone in the community receives affordable primary health care so they can stay healthy, lead productive lives, and more importantly, and stay out of the hospital. We serve men, women and children regardless of their ability to pay or insurance status. People pay what they can for the care they need. Central Peninsula Health Center is part of the national network of federally supported primary and preventive health care providers. There are over 1,000 health centers across the country serving more than 15 million people in rural and urban medically underserved areas, where doctors are scarce.
In the coming weeks, the Senate Appropriations Committee will determine next year’s funding level for Community Health Centers. The House panel has already passed a record increase of $206 million for this critical program. If the Senate follows suit, over 1.5 million more people have the chance to receive affordable and accessible health care.
Imagine the results. More expectant mothers can receive prenatal care; more people suffering chronic diseases can avoid needless and costly hospitalizations with a doctor who can help them manage their illness with regular check-ups.
Doesn’t this sound like a common sense approach to health care that deserves investment and our support? In Alaska we’re lucky that Sen. Ted Stevens serves on the Appropriations Committee. Let’s hope that he and the entire Congress do the right thing and passes this critical funding.
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