We already have Federally funded and controlled Healthcare Centers (Co-ops?)

We’ve had federal funding for healthcare for the poor prior to 1996, however, I will start with legislation that was passed in 1996 entitled “Health Centers Consolidation Act of 1996.”   In 1996, President Clinton was in his second term, and, the Republicans took the majority in the House and the Senate.  Many of the Democrat and Republican Senators today were a part of the 104th Congress when this bill passed.  It is interesting that when Senator Conrad, and Senator Baucus proposed the idea of Co-ops, it didn’t gain any traction, as the these “co-ops” were already in place, and funded by the federal government.  I believe the opponents were against the idea because they would be federally funded, and therefore no better than the public option.

Language included in this now Public Law 104-299 includes-

“Health centers means an entity that serves a population that is medically underserved, or a special medically underserved population comprised of migratory and seasonal agricultural workers, the homeless, and the residents of public housing, by providing, either through the staff and supportive resources of the center or through contracts or cooperative arrangements.”

On page 15 of the above linked pdf file, section (I) Authorization of Appropriations-

(1) In general- For the purpose of carrying out this section, in addition to the amounts authorized to be appropriated under subsection (d), there are authorized to be appropriated $802,124,000. for the fiscal year 1997, and such sums as may be necessary for each of the fiscal years 1998 through 2001.”

This program was obviously carried forward into the Bush presidency, according to testimony given by Elizabeth Handley, a representative of the HRSA, which is a part of the Department of Health and Human Services.  On May 4, 2006, Ms. Handley testified before the Committee on Energy and the Subcommittee on Health.

Ms. Handley thanked the committee for their continued efforts and support, and, stated that she last testified before the same committee in 2001.  It’s apparent that her testimony was an effort to continue the funding, and, to in fact ask for an increase in funding.

The testimony is very detailed as to what the HRSA had accomplished to date, and included information, such as, the Health Centers served 14 million people since 2005, at 3,740 delivery sites, located in all 50 states.  She was hoping to increase funding for an additional 182 new Health Centers.

That gets me to the funding, in the Stimulus bill passed earlier this year.  We have heard that only a small portion of the stimulus funds have been spent/disbursed.  I do not know the total amount appropriated to the Department of Health and Human Services, however, you can look here to see a graph showing amounts allocated to the following areas-

Improving and Preserving Health Care- $90.4 billion

Health IT (where all of our healthcare records will be stored and shared)-$48.8 billion

Child and Community Services (ACORN?)- $12.4 billion

Scientific Research and Facilities- $10.0 billion

Community Health (I think this is where new centers are being funded)- $2.8 billion

Comparative Effectivness (Death Panels)- $1.1 billion

Please see “Comparative Effectivness Panel Members Named by HHS.” That was back in March of this year.

Prevention and Wellness (less Mammograms and Prostate cancer screening)- $1.0 billion

Accountability and IT security (so all of the medical records can be viewed by the HHS)- $0.1 billion

TOTAL- $166.6 billion

Page down a little further on the same page.  You can find information pertaining to what each state was awarded.  You can check your state, but I believe the largest amounts were appropriated for State and Territory Medicaid funding programs.  Virginia was awarded $747,515,121. Also click on the link for New Access Points Community Services Block Grants.  That is funding for new Healthcare Cluster Centers, as they are now referred to.

If you haven’t already looked into what stimulus monies were given to your state please check out the stimulus watch website.  Looking through the monies that came into Virginia, I came across a grant awarded to Caroline Family Practice, in which a former grocery store was renovated into a health center to serve the poor.  The funding, in the amount of $1,300,000. will also pay for equipment, staff, and no doubt the Health IT system necessary to track all patient records.  If you look at this link, you will see the reference to “The Recovery Act Health Center Clusters Program.”  It also refers to the establishment of “New Access Points” health centers, funded through the Health Resources and Services Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services. 

I don’t have the time, nor the inclination to research how many of these centers are being set up in each state.  I am satisfied that the infrastructure is being expanded in order to begin accepting those covered under the Public Option, whether it is called that or not. 

There are also other bills that are currently sitting in committee, that would make the current Obamacare bill being debated in the Senate totally unnecessary, and, a waste of time.  The Big Government website has an article today that will not only curl your hair, it will make it jump out of your head.  PLease at least peruse the linked bills for both the House and Senate.

 Didn’t the EPA just declare Co2 a hazardous gas.  They completely bypassed  Congress, and, they can also do the same with healthcare if we don’t keep our eyes roving in all directions.