Anyone who is concerned about the growing numbers of our friends, neighbors and loved ones who have no health insurance and no place to go for health care should know there is a solution.
A nationwide network of federally-supported health care providers called Community Health Centers (CHCs) open their doors to anyone whether they have insurance or not. They provide good primary health care at a cost that people can afford. And because they’ve made such a difference in communities over the last 40 years, some members of Congress are working hard to make sure the program keeps going.
Because each health center is grounded in its local community, no two health centers are alike. But they share one thing in common: they are all run by patient majority community boards.
This patient democracy ensures that patients don’t just pay, they also have a say in how their health care is delivered to meet local public health needs. While conventional wisdom may suggest that putting the patients in charge might drive up the cost of health care, the results on the front lines of public health have been precisely the opposite.
The health care delivered at a health center is more cost-effective and results-driven than anywhere else. That is why health centers have earned the highest possible performance rating on the government Web site: www.expectmore.gov.
We are hopeful U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens will sponsor bipartisan bill HR 5201, which ensures health centers and their community boards will be able to continue their mission well into the future. So often we read in the news about what is going wrong with health care.
The same ink should be devoted to what is going right. And the public deserves to know that some of their elected leaders are investing in affordable health care solutions that work.
If you feel as I do and want to help, e-mail, call or write to Ted Stevens and ask him for his support on bill HR 5201. Our community will benefit greatly.
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