As the Affordable Care Act continue to be implemented, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Wednesday that $128.6 million in new grants have been awarded to local health centers. More than 200 clinics received grants to help expand access to health care for 1.25 million patients, and the grants are expected to fund 300 new clinics and create 5,600 jobs by infusing “critical dollars into health centers and their surrounding communities.”
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the grants should be seen as symbolic of Obamacare’s impact more generally, adding, “the health care law is making our community health centers stronger and ensuring more Americans get the care they need.” And HHS underscored the connection between the health care reform law and the expansion of quality health care:
As community-based and patient-directed organizations, health centers are well positioned to be responsive to the specific health care needs of their community. Through the Affordable Care Act’s commitment to expand access to high quality health care for all Americans, these grants will support establishment of new full-time service delivery sites. [...]
Since the beginning of 2009, health centers have added more than 25,300 new full-time positions. The awards announced today will infuse critical dollars into health centers and their surrounding communities, enhancing health centers’ ability to serve more patients and creating thousands of jobs across the country.
But if the Supreme Court rules that Obama is unconstitutional, then HHS will have to “unravel several programs like these that have distributed money to parts of the healthcare system,” potentially endangering access to health care for millions of Americans.