This issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured examines the challenges and opportunities for community health centers with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Over 1,100 federally-funded community health centers provide vital health care to uninsured and underinsured individuals, without access restrictions based on ability to pay. In 2011, these community health centers provided 80 million visits to about 20 million patients. Community health centers also provide dental, behavioral health, and enabling services to their patients.
The issue brief describes the potential changes in revenue sources, insurance coverage for patients, and types of services needed as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues to be implemented. While the ACA created a Health Center Trust Fund of $11 billion to fund expansion of community health centers over ten years, federal appropriations cuts and now budget cuts under sequestration have reduced the base funding of the community health centers. The decision by many states to decline to implement expansions of their Medicaid programs under the ACA also means both more uninsured patients in many states as well as less Medicaid revenue for the community health centers.
Additional funding for the issue brief was provided by the RCHN Community Health Foundation.