10.09.08

ENZI BILL TO IMPROVE HEALTH CARE FOR RURAL AMERICANS CLEARS FINAL HURDLE

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Ranking Member of theSenate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP Committee), todayapplauded President Bush for signing the “Health Care Safety Net Act of 2008,” whichhe said will make it easier for patients to receive quality health care in rural andunderserved areas – particularly in frontier communities that struggle to attract doctorsand health care providers.

“The Health Care Safety Net Act will help patients in Wyoming, and rural andfrontier areas across the country, get the health care services they need at prices they canafford,” Enzi said. “Community health centers (CHCs) provide regular access to highquality health care for people in rural and underserved areas, regardless of their ability topay. This bill will renew and improve the CHC program to expand access to primarycare services and improve overall care in underserved areas of the country.”

The bill, H.R. 1343, reauthorizes Community Health Center programs, RuralHealth Care Services Outreach grant programs, and the National Health Service Corps.

“In Wyoming we have a shortage of every type of health care provider, which iswhy I have spent months working to ensure this bill will pass,” Enzi said. “This bill willhelp rural and frontier areas like Wyoming meet their health care needs. “These are critical programs that provide primary care, dental care, and mentalhealth services in underserved areas across the United States. They help future doctorswho agree to come to rural areas pay for their education.”

Enzi said that renewing Community Health Centers and rural health programs is an important piece of his comprehensive health care reform bill, “10 Steps to TransformHealth Care in America,” S. 1783. Enzi helped bring together Members of Congress andstakeholders to reach the agreement that the Senate and House of Representative sapproved overwhelmingly.

“I have introduced a bill, 10 Steps to Transform Health Care in America, thatwould go a long way in making sure every American has a health insurance card in his orher wallet,” Enzi said. “We could enact any one of these sensible proposals included in10 Steps today and produce results tomorrow. Passing the Community Health Centersbill is a good start to expand access to quality care.

“I urge you to visit my website, enzi.senate.gov, to learn more about each of the10 Steps.

“I sincerely appreciate the leadership of Senators Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and OrrinHatch (R-UT) on this Community Health Center bill. I want to thank Senator SusanCollins (R-ME), who championed provisions to reauthorize dental health workforceprograms. I also want to thank Senators Gordon Smith (R-OR), John Barrasso (R-WY),and Pat Roberts (R-KS), for their hard work on the rural health clinics provisions.”

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