Rehberg takes heat from community health centers for spending proposal

Lack of funding in Congressman’s plan hurts communities grappling with health care shortages

BILLINGS, Mont. – One of the nation’s largest organizations dedicated to serving the medically uninsured is challenging Congressman Dennis Rehberg for limiting access to quality health care.

The National Association of Community Health Centers is one of many organizations concerned about the harm Rehberg’s spending plan will cause for community health centers.

“The absence of funding for expansion of the [Health Centers] means many communities will continue to grapple with significant unmet need for health care and health center services,” said Dan Hawkins, Senior Vice President for Public Policy at the National Association of Community Health Centers.

As head of a congressional committee responsible for health care funding, Rehberg recently introduced a spending proposal that would slash $300 million from community health centers.

“Congressman Rehberg’s proposal cuts critical funding that community health centers need to operate and greatly diminishes their ability to provide quality health care here in Yellowstone County and across Montana,” said Lil Anderson, former president and CEO of Billings’ RiverStone Health and Past Board Chair of the National Association of Community Health Centers.  “Decreasing access for those served by community health centers–with the greatest need for primary and preventive care and the fewest monetary resources to pay for that care–will negatively impact the goal of decreasing health care costs in our country. 

Rehberg’s proposal would make it harder to get and keep qualified nurses and doctors in the workforce. Rehberg’s plan also zeroes out funding for Title X, a federal initiative that provides cancer screenings, family planning and other life-saving health services to more than 27,000 Montanans.

Click HERE to read the National Association of Community Health Centers full statement on Rehberg’s spending proposal.

Prominent groups across the nation are criticizing Rehberg’s bill: