WASHINGTON, July 6 Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke at a news conference at the Mission Neighborhood Health Center today to highlight critical investments in community health clinics made by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. She also discussed the need for comprehensive health care reform. Below are the Speaker's remarks as prepared:
"John Gressman, thank you for that kind introduction, and for your leadership of San Francisco's Community Clinic Consortium - a model for the nation in comprehensive and compassionate health care.
"I would like to recognize Brenda Storey for her leadership of the Mission Neighborhood Health Center, and Gladys Sandlin, who has improved the lives of countless women and children and families in San Francisco during her 20 years at the Mission Neighborhood Health Center.
"I would also like to recognize Maria de Jesus and her children Cindy, Emily, and DeAngelo.
"Across America, community health centers are serving as a lifeline for millions of Americans, regardless of their ability to pay. A key to the success of the Community Health Centers is how well they perform outreach to the community - earning the trust of the community and successfully reaching out to prevent illness, instead of waiting until it is too late.
"A successful community health center is one that is proactive - not just reactive. And that's what we see right here in San Francisco's Community Clinic Consortium, which serves more than 70,000 San Franciscans a year.
"Because we know that during times of economic challenge, community health centers can be the lifeline for entire neighborhoods, Congress included $2 billion for grants to community health centers in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
"Across the city, we've invested almost $6 million dollars in the Consortium's community health centers. Right here at Mission Neighborhood Health Center, that's meant more than $1 million to extend center hours, retain essential staff, and update and overhaul essential center infrastructure - which will put 56 Bay Area residents to work.
"The Recovery Act's investment in community health centers is just the beginning of our work this year to expand American's access to quality, affordable health care.
"In the House, three committee chairmen have put forward a draft proposal of health care reform. It takes us a step closer to providing what President Obama has called for: affordable, quality, accessible health care for all Americans. It will bring down cost, improve quality, and make America healthier.
"Community health centers will play a critical role in reforming our health system. We will expand the role of community health centers and ensure they are a part of the health plans offered in the exchange.
"Community health centers will continue to play a critical primary care role in low-income neighborhoods. We are going to ensure that the centers receive reimbursement for almost all families they serve. This will help the bottom line of centers such as this one, and make you better able to expand your mission and role into more communities.
"We are going to vote on health care reform legislation in July, and we are going to meet President Obama's expectation that we get it done this year.
"We will not fail. Our long-run fiscal health, our economy and most importantly, the health of all Americans is at stake."
SOURCE Office of the Speaker of the House