Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), a member of the Congressional Community Health Centers Caucus, sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, in his capacity as head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, urging the Task Force to consider the needs of the nation’s 1,400 community health centers (CHCs). In the letter, Congresswoman Pressley urges the administration to take four concrete steps to protect CHCs and the frontline healthcare workers they employ.
Across the United States, CHCs serve as a crucial source of healthcare for almost 29 million low-income individuals, many of whom are uninsured or underinsured.
“It is deeply concerning that in the midst of this pandemic, Administration officials have tasked CHCs with caring for our nation’s most complex and vulnerable patients without providing them with the adequate support and resources to do it,” writes Congresswoman Pressley. “Historically, CHCs have played a vital role in responding to our most pressing public health challenges. From the HIV/AIDS epidemic to the ongoing opioid crisis, CHCs have offered critical health services to vulnerable communities, all the while remaining chronically underfunded and under-resourced. Given the severity of COVID-19, we simply must not allow this to continue. With almost 28 million uninsured Americans, nationwide testing shortages, and a rapidly spreading virus, it is both unfair and unsustainable for CHCs to shoulder this burden without proper resources.”
Congresswoman Pressley is a long-time advocate for community-based health care programs. Last year, she helped secure $1.6 billion in funding for the Community Health Centers program and fought for funding to support school-based health centers. She also led more than 85 of her colleagues in urging House and Senate leadership to pass a strong, long-term extension of the Community Health Center Fund, which ultimately led to the inclusion of $10 billion in program and capital improvement funds for CHCs as part of H.R. 3, the Elijah Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act.