A proclamation for National Health Center Week, 2022

A proclamation for National Health Center Week, 2022

Over half a century ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson instituted a pilot program to provide affordable primary health care to Americans who needed it most. He helped establish community health centers in underserved areas to make medical services accessible to people regardless of their age, geographic location, or economic status. President Johnson’s philosophy was simple: In a “Great Society” no one is left behind. Today this ideal lives on. Health centers provide quality medical, dental, and behavioral health care to more than 30 million Americans annually and remain a cornerstone of our public health system. During National Health Center Week, we celebrate the important role these health centers play in protecting the well-being of Americans and honor the heroic employees who keep these facilities running.

Health care is a right, not a privilege. Yet many people still struggle to get the medical care they need. Nearly 4 million Americans remain excluded from Medicaid expansion, and millions more are finding it difficult to afford prescription drugs, mental health services and health screenings. Access to care is also often unequal—Black and Brown Americans, rural, Native American and Alaskan Native Americans, and low-income families all report lower coverage rates and less access to basic services. Federally funded health centers meet these challenges head-on by providing medical services—particularly to communities of color, rural communities, and those living in poverty—through nearly 1,400 community-based organizations that operate over 14,000 service centers. Because clinics operate under a patient-majority board of directors, health centers ensure that decisions are informed and made directly by those affected.

Since taking office, my administration has strengthened our nation’s network of health centers. Last year, we invested $7.6 billion in American Rescue Plan funds to strengthen health center staff, renovate facilities, and stock them with vital COVID-19 medical supplies. We also committed $400 million from the American Rescue Plan to build a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and AmeriCorps to train the next generation of public health workers, including in community health centers. We have prevented disease and treated disease for millions of Americans. We’ve helped pay the salaries of over 272,000 full-time healthcare and support workers.

Health centers are at the heart of many of my government’s priorities. From reducing the cancer death rate by ensuring equal access to cancer screening and screening, to helping Americans live healthier lives through new digital health technologies, we will ensure health centers are ready for the future of healthcare. I remain committed to working with Congress to double the size of the health center program, get more Americans to work in these centers across the country, and ensure that all of us have access to health care at an affordable price.

During National Health Center Week, let’s recognize our health centers and staff for their outstanding contributions to communities across America. Let us thank them for their dedication, service, and commitment to a stronger, healthier, and more equitable healthcare system.

THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, hereby proclaim the week of August 7 through August 13, 2022, as National Health Center Week .

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereby signed this

fifth day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand and twenty-two and of the independence of the United States of America on the two hundred and forty-seventh.

JOSEPH R BIDEN JR

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