Community Health Centers facing financial doubly whammy

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MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) –  Connecticut’s Community Health Centers, that serve thousands of Connecticut residents, are facing two major financial storms. One from the Republican Health Care plan in Washington the other from the State Budget gridlock in Hartford.

About a quarter of the population in Meriden comes to the Community Health Center here for their health care. There are 13 other centers like the one in Meriden around the state serving 145,000 Connecticut residents every year. About eighty percent are covered by Medicaid.

41-year-old Merita Berisha is one of them. She and her mother are refugees from Kosovo. She has two children, also dependent on Medicaid. She is greatly concerned by the news that the Republican health care plan would cut one out of every four Medicaid dollars coming to Connecticut. “My concern is because it’s going to affect me and my kids and my mom and many of us, and I don’t work so I’m afraid it’s going to affect us in so many ways.”

Senator Richard Blumenthal met with the staff here today saying besides the same cuts in Medicaid, the revised Republican health plan will result in fewer people in Connecticut being able to purchase insurance adding, “Disastrous for Connecticut. Disastrous and deadly for our state.”

In addition to these health centers C.H.C. also operates over 200 school based health centers and they have now been threatened by the state budget problems in Hartford. C.H.C. Vice President Amy Taylor saying, “Because of the state budget we are looking at a potential of a 25 percent reduction to our school based health center funding.”

So these centers, that serve the health needs of thousands of Connecticut residents, are facing a double whammy of financial problems. The operators of the Community Health Centers say they’ve weathered many funding storms like this in recent years but this is one of the worst.

The Republican leader in the U.S. Senate is aiming for a vote on the Republican health care plan next week. The House Republican leader in Hartford will attempt to bring up a vote on a state budget solution next week as well but both are considered highly in doubt.

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