If opponents of health care reform could view the grant money in the Affordable Care Act as an investment in our children rather than wasteful spending, I believe at least some of them would eventually accept that we’re better off with the law than without it.
I’d be especially confident if they took the time to visit some of the community facilities that will be able to meet the health care needs of thousands more Americans as a result of those grants.
Earlier this month, the Obama administration announced awards of $95 million to 278 school-based health center programs across the country. The grants—the first of $200 million worth of awards between now and 2013—will help clinics expand and provide more medical services at schools nationwide.
According to the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, the school-based programs receiving the first grants currently serve nearly 800,000 patients. The grant money will enable them to increase their capacity by more than 50 percent, serving an additional 440,000 patients.
One of the recipients is the Family Health Centers of San Diego, which by itself last year served more than 161,000 patients, many of them children, through 600,000 visits at 30 locations and three mobile medical clinics.They will receive $500,000, the maximum award, to, among other things, establish a permanent clinic at Rice Elementary School in Chula Vista, a community with many uninsured families and a high unemployment rate.
Family Health Centers will also use the money to help transition to electronic health records and to replace aging equipment and update technology at one of its facilities at another school, Sherman Elementary.
In announcing the first recipients of this federal money, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said the grants “will make it a lot easier for working moms and dads to help get their children the health care they need and deserve.”