Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons joined a bipartisan group of senators in calling on Senate leadership to immediately reauthorize funding for community health centers.

In a letter led by Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, and Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-New York, Carper and Coons and 63 of their Senate colleagues expressed their support for community health centers, which provide access to cost-effective primary and preventive care for families across the country.

“Community health centers serve a vital function, providing affordable health care to our nation’s most vulnerable citizens,” the senators wrote. “They provide quality medical, dental, vision and behavioral health care to more than 27 million patients, including 330,000 of our nation’s veterans and 8 million children, at over 10,000 sites nationwide. Without extension of the Community Health Center Fund, community health centers will lose seventy percent of their funding. This will result in an estimated 2,800 site closures, the loss of 50,000 jobs, and approximately 9 million Americans losing access to their health care.”

As the senators noted in their letter, the CHCF expired Sept. 30, 2017. The failure to reauthorize the fund has jeopardized access to care for millions of Americans and made it difficult for community health centers to adequately plan for everything from staffing needs to securing loans for capital projects.

The full text of the letter is available at bit.ly/2FRGIX4.