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Health Centers Funded For AFA Enrollment

May 10, 2013

Republicans renew call to repeal the entire healthcare law while the Obama administration is providing $150 million for health centers to offer Affordable Health Care (AHC) enrollment assistance nationwide. 

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell sent Obama a letter on Thursday saying they would not participate in picking members of a controversial panel called the Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB, which the reform law created to recommend ways to restrain Medicare spending if program cost growth exceeds set targets.

“We believe Congress should repeal IPAB, just as we believe we ought to repeal the entire healthcare law,” Boehner and McConnell said in their letter. (read more at Republicans Renew Push for Repeal of Obamacare)  

The adminstration, motivated by concerns that America’s poor will not be reached by conventional insurance outlets of insurance agents, web-brokers, or on-line enrollment, is providing new funding to community health centers.

Approximately $150 million will help community health centers provide in-person enrollment assistance to uninsured individuals across the nation.  About 1,200 health centers operate nearly 9,000 service delivery sites nationwide and serve approximately 21 million patients each year.

Health centers have extensive experience providing eligibility assistance to patients, are providing care in communities across the Nation, and are well-positioned to support enrollment efforts,” HHS Secretary Sebelius said.  “Investing in health centers for outreach and enrollment assistance provides one more way the Obama administration is helping consumers understand their options and enroll in affordable coverage.”

With these new funds, health centers will be able to hire new staff, train existing staff, and conduct community outreach events and other educational activities.  Health centers will help consumers understand their coverage options, determine their eligibility and enroll in new affordable health insurance options.  Community health center staff will provide unbiased information to consumers about health insurance, the new Health Insurance Marketplace, qualified health plans, and Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Today’s funding announcement is part of the administration's larger effort to make applying for health insurance as easy as possible.  For example, last week, HHS released a single, streamlined application that was shortened from 21 to 3 pages.  HHS is committed to providing the type of assistance that Americans need to ensure that they have access to affordable health care.

Source:  US Health & Human Services, News Release – May 9, 2013  “Health centers to help uninsured individuals”

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