NAFC Urges Senate & House Members to Prioritize Needs of Millions of Americans Over Politics in House FY2024 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, & Related Agencies Appropriations Bill
Alexandria, VA, July 26, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC) expresses their profound disappointment with the cuts and program eliminations proposed in the House FY2024 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill.
The bill disregards health equity, women’s health care, and gender-affirming health care, revealing an indifference to the needs of millions of Americans. As a bipartisan organization committed to the health and welfare of all individuals, the NAFC recognizes the importance of fiscal responsibility. However, this bill is shockingly short-sighted and will have devastating consequences that will reverberate throughout America’s healthcare system for years.
America’s 1,400 Free and Charitable Clinics serve approximately 2 million uninsured individuals daily. These clinics are staffed by a dedicated workforce of nearly 200,000 volunteers and staff members. NAFC member organizations do not receive taxpayer dollars to provide access to health care to their communities. Instead, with the support of donations, grants and volunteers, they are on the front lines serving the healthcare needs of individuals whose current healthcare system is the community’s response to healthcare.
“NAFC clinics know firsthand the catastrophic impact that these proposed cuts and program eliminations would have on their patients, many of whom are poor, uninsured, black, indigenous people of color, immigrants, people with low health literacy and English proficiency, women, and part of the LGBTQIA+ communities,” shared Nicole Lamoureux, NAFC President and CEO. “Our nation’s most vulnerable would be forced to seek emergency care, leading to an increase in costs to our healthcare system and potentially tragic outcomes.”
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, individuals without health coverage experience higher hospitalization rates for preventable health problems, receive fewer diagnostic and therapeutic services, and face higher mortality rates than those with insurance.
The House Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill sends the message that women, especially uninsured women, and women of color, are not a priority. By eliminating the Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program under Title X, this bill further endangers the lives of countless women. A National Institutes of Health report reveals uninsured women and those with public insurance face higher risks of advanced breast cancer, treatment delays, and death. The drastic cuts to the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant, Healthy Start, the Ending HIV Epidemic initiative, and various diversity initiatives within the healthcare workforce undermine our society’s commitment to equitable access to care.
The NAFC is dedicated to building healthy communities and ensuring quality, equitable, and accessible healthcare, standing for volunteerism, generosity, collaboration, and the intrinsic value of human dignity. The NAFC vision encompasses a just society that upholds the rights of all individuals to a healthy life and well-being, regardless of age, sex, income, education, immigration status, ethnicity, skin color, religion, or sexual orientation.
As Congress continues negotiations on a final Labor HHS bill, the NAFC urges all members of the Senate and the House to prioritize people over politics because a healthy population is essential for the success and growth of our nation. The House Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill falls short of what our citizens deserve, and we as a country must do better.
About the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics
The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC) is the only nonprofit 501c(3) organization whose mission is solely focused on the issues and needs of the uninsured and underinsured throughout the nation and the more than 1,400 Free and Charitable Clinics and Pharmacies that serve them. The NAFC has earned the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar and a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. Founded in 2001 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., the NAFC is working towards healthy communities for all through quality, equitable, accessible healthcare. For more information about the NAFC, please visit www.nafcclinics.org.