Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Ranking Member of theSenate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP Committee), today saidSenate passage of the “Health Centers Renewal Act of 2008” will make it easier forpatients to receive quality health care in rural and underserved areas – particularly infrontier communities that struggle to attract doctors and health care providers.

“Community health centers (CHCs) provide regular access to high quality healthcare for people in rural and underserved areas, regardless of their ability to pay,” Enzisaid. “CHCs ensure that people can get the primary health care services they need, andcut down on costs for everyone by reducing the need for expensive emergency roomcare. 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. I urge the Houseof Representatives to take up this bill and pass it quickly, so we can send it to thePresident.

“These are critical programs that provide primary care, dental care, and mentalhealth services in underserved areas across the United States. They help future doctorsand nurses who agree to come to rural areas pay for their education.”

Enzi said that renewing Community Health Centers and rural health programs isan 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 approved unanimously today.“

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.”


Press Contact

Craig Orfield (202) 224-6770