Through an Affordable Care Act provision, Rep. Bernie Sanders provided $11 billion for expansions to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC). Sanders has long supported FQHCs, which are critical primary care providers, including dental care, affordable prescription drugs, and mental health services, particularly in rural areas.
“The FQHC designation means that the centers will receive substantially higher reimbursement rates for Medicare and Medicaid, and very importantly, will be able to provide its patients with low cost prescription drugs,” said Sanders in a news conference.
The FQHC grants allowed centers to expand their services and centers to additional regions, and provide insurance to those with or without existing health care coverage – regardless of income.
“I have believed for the last several years that the state of Vermont has not been as aggressive as we might in establishing FQHCs around our state,” Bernie added. Prior to the provision, Vermont only had two FQHCs, a far lower number per capita than the rest of New England and many other states.