Passage of Budget Deal Funds Health Centers, Other Health Priorities But Leaves Dreamers Behind

Bipartisan agreement brokered in Senate provides stability for CHIP and Community Health Centers, but lacks permanent solution for 800,000 young immigrants

(BOSTON, MA) Statement of Robert Restuccia, executive director of Community Catalyst, regarding House and Senate passage of the two-year budget agreement.

“In a bipartisan vote, Republicans and Democrats came together to provide an additional four years of funding to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), on top of the six years included in the continuing resolution passed last month. Additionally, the agreement provides two years of funding for America’s community health centers, long overdue disaster relief for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and $6 billion dollars in funding to combat the opioid and overdose crisis.

“This agreement provides peace of mind for the more than 20 million individuals who depend on community health centers for their primary care. However, we are deeply disturbed by the crisis the Trump administration has manufactured to put the lives of 800,000 young people in peril. Leader McConnell must honor his commitment to bring a bill addressing the Dreamers to the Senate floor and Speaker Ryan must agree to bring legislation to protect the Dreamers to the House floor without delay and without preconditions.

“The cynical ploy of pitting one group of people against another must stop. A failure to resolve this issue leaves young immigrants in a legal limbo that threatens to break apart hundreds of thousands of families, affect their education and careers, and deny them the opportunity to continue contributing to our culture and economy.

“We are also concerned that congressional leadership chose to pay for this budget deal with cuts to critical health care programs in Medicaid and the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Members seem to have no difficulty bestowing tax breaks on millionaires and giant corporations without budget offsets. But when it comes to financing primary care they feel compelled to engage in a ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ exercise.

“We call upon President Trump, and House and Senate leadership, to work in a bipartisan fashion to move forward on an immigration proposal, such as the DREAM Act, that protects young immigrants. A proposal for which all recent polling shows overwhelming public support. And we further demand that the health of the American people take precedence over policies that further enrich those who already have more than enough.”

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About Community Catalyst
Community Catalyst is a national, non-profit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1998 with the belief that affordable quality health care should be accessible to everyone. We work in partnership with national, state and local organizations, policymakers, and philanthropic foundations to ensure consumer interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and the health system are made: in communities, courtrooms, statehouses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org. Follow us on Twitter @healthpolicyhub.

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