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McHugh hails passage of legislation funding health care centers in New York

WASHINGTON, D.C. Congressman John M. McHugh (R-Pierrepont Manor) announced today that a bill he supports, the Health Centers Renewal Act of 2007, H.R. 1343, has passed the House of Representatives. The legislation, which Congressman McHugh cosponsored, would authorize funding for health centers around the country that meet the health care needs of medically underserved communities. Congressman McHugh also submitted a statement for the record on the floor of the House expressing his strong support for the passage of the legislation. Community health centers are absolutely essential to our nations health care infrastructure, providing high-quality, cost-effective care in the 23rd District and across the country. I am a strong supporter of these health centers, particularly in rural areas like Northern and Central New York where residents often have limited options when seeking affordable care, said McHugh. I was pleased to support this legislation both as a cosponsor and by voting in favor of the legislation, and will continue to advocate on behalf of community health centers that serve many low-income families and seniors across our region. Community health centers base fees on income and family size, thereby providing services regardless of insurance status or ability to pay for care. In New York State, health centers provide services to 1.1 million people who receive care at over 425 sites. Forty-three percent of New York State health center patients are Medicaid beneficiaries and 28 percent are uninsured. Additionally, over 86 percent of New York State health center patients have incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, which in 2008 is $42,400 for a family of four. The Health Centers Renewal Act of 2007 would authorize funding for community health centers through 2012. In New Yorks 23rd District, residents are served by the following four health care centers: Hudson Headwaters Health Network, Northern Oswego County Health Services, The Smith House, and the United Cerebral Palsy Association of the North Country. In March 2008, Congressman McHugh was awarded the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) 2008 Community Health Defender for his leadership in expanding health care access to millions of uninsured and medically underserved Americans. The Health Centers Renewal Act of 2007 is currently being considered by the Senate. If the bill also passes the Senate, the legislation would be sent to the President to be signed into law.

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