WASHINGTON, March 19 – Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today joined an effort to ensure community health care centers are fairly and adequately reimbursed for treating Medicare patients.
Currently, community health centers are subjected to a cap on their Medicare reimbursements regardless of the services they actually offer to Medicare beneficiaries. As a result, health care centers – which are key providers of primary care in rural communities across the country – end up offering uncompensated care.
The Medicare Access to Community Health Center (MATCH) Act, authored by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), would lift the cap and ensure that health centers are properly reimbursed. If enacted, the measure would send an estimated $51 million annually to federally qualified health centers across America.
Sanders said, “The issue of the crisis of primary health care is an issue that we as a nation must begin to address. Community health centers provide quality primary care at a significant savings for millions of Americans, but 60 million Americans still lack meaningful access to primary health care, dental care, mental health counseling and low-cost prescription drugs.”
The MATCH Act is also cosponsored by Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and introduced in the House of Representatives by John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.).
Senator Sanders and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) have also introduced the Access for All Americans Act which would authorize $8.3 billion annually at the end of five years to expand the number of Federally Qualified Health Centers from 1,100 to 4,800, which would provide primary health care for all Americans.