As Prepared For Delivery:

Thank you, Paloma, for that warm welcome, and for leading the National Association of Community Health Centers’ Board of Directors.

And thank you to Dr. Kyu Rhee for your leadership at NACHC and the invitation to be with all of you today.

I would also like to express my gratitude to Tom Daschle for being such a strong champion of community health centers.

Community health centers are essential pillars of our communities.

You provide quality, affordable services to your neighbors—regardless of their ability to pay.

Your patients include some of our most vulnerable community members, like low-income patients, people in rural communities, people experiencing homelessness, and so many other people who have been left behind.

In recent years, we’ve called on you to do more than you’ve ever done before, and you’ve stepped up.

In 2022, 1 in 11 people nationwide relied on community health centers to provide their health care. That includes one in 9 children.

Families rely on you and trust you for their primary care, their maternal health, their vaccinations, their mental health and substance use needs, and so much more.

Those who work at community health centers know their patients well, and know what’s happening in their communities. We’re so grateful for your work.

Today, I’d like to discuss the multifaceted ways that families depend on community health centers—and how the Biden-Harris Administration is working to ensure that community health centers have the resources they need to carry out this vital work.

Health Care

The foundation of our work is affordable, quality health care.

And at no time in U.S. history have more Americans been insured.

Last month, we announced that a record 21.3 million people had enrolled in health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace.

That’s 9 million more people than when the President took office—a 75 percent increase!

We achieved this remarkable milestone in large part thanks to all of you.

You are on the frontlines of telling people about the benefits of the ACA.

How important coverage is.

And, more importantly, how affordable it is.

YOU helped us get millions of people the coverage they need.

In addition, we’re doing our part. We’re making it easier for consumers to shop for and compare ACA health plans and lowering health care costs.

In fact, we lowered or, in some cases, eliminated premiums for millions of consumers. Now, 4 out of every 5 ACA customers can find a comprehensive health plan for less than $10 a month.

That’s not even counting our major efforts to lower the cost of prescription drugs, allow Medicare to negotiate prices with drug manufacturers, and cap the cost of insulin at $35.

Making sure people have coverage is critical to supporting the work you all do to provide health care services to Americans who need it most. So, thank you for continuing to encourage folks to sign up for health insurance.

Primary Care

Community health centers are a critical component of primary care—driving our health care system to be more equitable and accessible.

We’re committed to ensuring you can keep doing the work you’re doing.

That’s why we’ve called on Congress to reauthorize the Health Center program and to increase funding so it expands its reach.

The President’s budget invests in the Health Center program and puts it on a path to doubling funding over five years. 

As a result, community health centers would be able to provide care for an additional 3 million patients.

This would allow health centers to expand health center behavioral health services, extend operating hours, and add new locations.

We urge Congress to pass strong funding for the Health Center Program as soon as possible so we can expand coverage to those who need it most—and ensure that there are no gaps in care.

Maternal Health

Next, I’d like to turn to maternal health.

Unfortunately, maternal mortality is a major challenge we face as a country.

Our country’s maternal mortality rate is the highest of any developed nation in the world.

It is more than double the rate of peer countries.

What’s more, every year, thousands of women experience serious complications from labor: heart issues, needed blood transfusions, eclampsia, and more.

These issues are even more acute among Black women, American Indian/Alaska Native women, and rural women.

Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women.

This is unacceptable.

And frankly, it is unnecessary.

Because here’s the thing: Most pregnancy-related deaths are preventable.

That is why the Biden-Harris Administration is so committed to addressing maternal health.

In 2022, we released the White House Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis.

This Blueprint lays out specific actions that the Federal Government will take to improve maternal health.

We’re making it easier to get care, including behavioral health care—and to get care covered. 

We have extended postpartum Medicaid coverage from 60 days to 12 months in more than 40 states and D.C., and made this a permanent option for states.

Because we know that mental health issues are the most common complications of childbirth, we are working to increase screening for postpartum depression and other conditions.

And we’re expanding and diversifying the perinatal workforce, including increasing the number of community health workers in underserved communities.

Community health centers are essential to addressing our maternal health crisis.

Research suggests that community health centers with comprehensive maternity care services lead to improved maternal health outcomes.[1]

That’s why we’re committed to supporting you and your staff who are on the frontlines of this crisis.

You provide life-saving care to millions of women across the country.

Mental Health

The next challenge I’d like to discuss is mental health.

Mental health is a growing problem that touches every corner of the country.

As many as 2 in 5 American adults have anxiety or depression.

Tragically, suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24 years.

This is simply unacceptable.

The President believes mental health care is health care, period.

That’s why the Biden-Harris Administration is so focused on tackling the mental health crisis in America.

That means addressing the severe shortages in the behavioral health workforce, so people can get support when they need it.

That’s why this Administration has invested over $1 billion into strengthening and expanding the 9-8-8 suicide and crisis lifeline.

9-8-8 has received more than 8 million contacts since its launch.

Over the next five years, the Department of Education will invest $1 billion from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to help schools hire and train new school-based mental health providers.

We’re also investing in certified community behavioral health centers, which are essential to ensuring patients receive care, day or night, regardless of their ability to pay.

During this Administration, we’ve added more than 140 centers.

There are now over 500 certified community behavioral health centers in 46 states.

Lastly, we must address the root issues that lead to mental health problems in the first place, like gun violence, hate-fueled violence, and poverty.

And, as Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. Surgeon General, has warned, we must do more to protect our kids’ mental health from the harms of social media.

The President has called for bipartisan legislation to ban targeted advertising online for children and young people, and to enact strong protections for their data privacy, health, and safety online.

We are also doing more to invest in prevention programs, expand training in mental health first aid, and support peer-based programs.

We have more work to do. But nobody is more committed to fixing the problems in our mental health system than Joe Biden.

Medicaid Renewal

Before I conclude, I want to note: We are eager for your help to ensure people stay covered by Medicaid.

You all know and work closely with people who are covered by Medicaid—many of whom may be at risk of losing their coverage.

So, we need your help.

As you all know, Medicaid beneficiaries normally must renew their coverage every year.

But legislation enacted at the beginning of the pandemic allowed people to keep their Medicaid coverage without having to renew their coverage.

Making sure people continued to have health insurance was vital to our collective efforts to fight the pandemic.

But now, after this three-year pause, states have begun to return to normal processes.

It is so urgent during this transition period that we help people who are still eligible for Medicaid keep their coverage, or help others sign up for employer or ACA plans.

I know many of you are already engaged in this effort, and we are so grateful.

You all can take that extra step to ask each person who walks through your doors if they’re up for renewal.

Please, think about how you can reach out to your patients.

Make sure they’ve updated their contact information. That they’ve filled out their paperwork correctly. That they check out to get more information.

Put up signs in your centers reminding them that they need to renew their coverage.

Let them know that, if they’re no longer eligible for Medicaid, they have options—at or through their employer.

This is an all-hands on deck moment to make sure people stay covered.

Then again—community health centers are always prepared to help your patients get what they need, no matter the challenge.

That’s why people have so much trust in you all.

Why you have so much power to help people.

So, thank you all for your work of taking care of your communities.

With that, I am happy to take a few questions.

[1] E.g., and

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