The health center trust fund, which makes up more than half of all funding for the Health Center Program, will expire on September 30, 2015 unless Congress takes deliberate action to reauthorize it. This looming funding cut, otherwise known as the "Primary Care Funding Cliff," represents the biggest financial challenge that the Health Center Program has faced to date with very real consequences for the millions of patients served if it is not stopped. The Affordable Care Act, enacted in March 2010, included a total of $11 billion in new, dedicated funding for the Health Center Program over five years (FY10-FY15): $9.5 billion in expansion funding and $1.5 billion in capital funding. This mandatory “trust fund” was created so that health centers could expand to serve as health care homes for those soon to become insured as well as continue to serve as the safety net for the remaining uninsured. If the fund is not reauthorized, health centers will be forced to reduce access to care at a time when demand for their services only continues to grow.
Based on 2013 UDS data, the Cliff represents a projected $104 million loss to New York State. Given that 2.3 million New Yorkers currently lack access to primary care services, it is imperative that Congress take swift action in order to ensure the continued ability of FQHCs to meet the current and growing demand.