Ms. HIRONO. Last week, when most of us were in our respective districts, representatives from community health centers around the country came to Capitol Hill to remind us of the essential role they play in our communities. I hope that the staff of Members who voted for H.R. 1, which drastically cuts funding for these very health centers, listen to the stories they heard last week.
I have long supported community health centers because in my district, spread over seven inhabited islands, access to care is a challenge. Although their principal focus has been to provide health care for the underserved, these centers serve people at all income levels.
Hawaii's network of community health centers serve nearly 127,000 patients, and only one-third of them are Medicaid eligible. On the island of Lanai, 40 percent of the residents receive care through their community health center. This population, 25 percent of which are over 65 years of age, can't afford to fly to another island for care.
Funding for community health centers is an investment because prevention is more cost effective than treatment. I urge my colleagues to reject cuts to community health centers.