Source: Health Policy Institute of Ohio
As Republican lawmakers work to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA), officials at community health centers across Ohio say they are concerned that changes could halt progress they’ve made over the past several years in treating more people, expanding services, and boosting economies in struggling areas (Source: “Obamacare Repeal Worries Community Health Centers,” The Columbus Dispatch, February 9, 2017).
Such centers, set up to care for underserved populations, have benefited not only from an increase in funding authorized by the ACA, but also from a provision of the law that allowed states to expand Medicaid to more low-income people.
Before the law took effect, 34% of health center clients were uninsured; in 2015, that dropped to 16%. Among homeless clients, the uninsured rate dropped from nearly 80% to less than 25%.
Overall, community health centers have expanded from about 200 to 275, adding services in about two dozen counties statewide. The centers served 623,000 patients in 2015, about 50,000 more than the year before.