On Saturday, Secretary Hillary Clinton announced additional details of her health care proposals, including a call to “nearly triple” the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) program. The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU), founded by NHSC alumni in 1996, has been urging policy-makers to strengthen and expand the program to address the shortages that exist across the country. Secretary Clinton also called for investments in the Health Centers program and reforms in the insurance market to ensure “that every American, regardless of where they live, has good quality primary health care available to them at a cost they can afford.”
“This is a very strong and clear statement of support by Secretary Clinton for the important and effective program,” said Craig Kennedy, Executive Director of ACU. “Today, more than 10 million people rely on National Health Service Corps providers, and Secretary Clinton’s plan would ensure that millions more have access to primary care in their communities. We know access to primary care improves health and lowers costs. Expanding the National Health Service Corps is an excellent way to do just that, using a proven and efficient program.”
In her statement, Secretary Clinton referred to the NHSC and Health Center provisions as “good investments for patients and for taxpayers.”
Founded in 1972, the National Health Service Corps program was designed to bring primary care health workers to the most underserved communities of the country. In exchange for their medical expertise, the program helps these professionals alleviate debt accumulated during the course of their education. Today, more than 9,600 providers deliver care to 10 million people in communities designated as Health Professional Shortage Areas. The Clinton plan would increase funding for the program to $810 million in FY17, from $310 million today. Furthermore, Secretary Clinton’s plan calls for increasing funding to $1.3 billion by FY27.