DENVER― The federal budget sequester taking effect now will impact health care in Colorado. The cut to the
Community Health Center program translates to an estimated 900,000 Community Health Center patients
across the country losing care. Some Community Health Center sites may have to reduce services or possibly
close their doors. The Colorado Community Health Network urges Congress to replace the sequester as soon
as possible. If Congress does not act, Community Health Centers face a loss of $120 million in funding at a
time when the need for affordable health care services already far exceeds the supply.
We will feel the impact of the cut in our community. People could lose access to basic health care services and
many of them cannot afford to go anyplace else. Every community that a Community Health Center cares for
will be adversely affected in some way. Current patients, many of whom have chronic conditions and need ongoing medical care, may lose access to the low-cost, high quality, primary health care they know. Low-income
families who have been waiting for a Community Health Center to open its doors in their community might
have to wait even longer, or will be forced to continue to go to the local emergency room for care. And Health Center employees and businesses that provide products and services to them have to wonder how to plan for the future. Is this really the kind of America we want to be?
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) calculates that sequestration will require an annual reduction of
roughly five percent for non-defense programs. However, because these cuts must be achieved over the
remaining seven months of the federal fiscal year, instead of the usual 12 months, the effective percentage
reductions will be approximately nine percent for programs such as Community Health Centers. The Health
Centers funding reduction comes as the program is attempting to expand its capacity to care for the millions of
Americans anticipated to gain access to insurance coverage under Medicaid and the insurance exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act.