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Rep. Claudia Tenney Gets Behind Federally Supported Rural Health Care


Public health care in Central New York is safe for another year.  Utica-area Congressmember Claudia Tenney was awarded the Health Center Supporter Award by the Family Health Network of Central New York at a stop Wednesday in Cortland.  Network CEO Walter Priest commended Tenney for helping to secure $1.5 billion in federal health center funding in the 2018 House budget before the money ran out. 

"One of the challenges for  community health centers is to have adequate funding to take care of the patients they so dutifully serve.  In 2015, Congress extended this funding on a bipartisan basis.  Without action before October 1st, the fund is set to expire, which means health centers will face an immediate cut in funding."

Tenney has supported programs to improve healthcare in rural areas, including the full funding of Community Health Centers.  She is also cosponsor of the Rural Hospital Access Act, a bill proposing to extend funding to low-volume and Medicare-dependent hospitals.  Tenney finds these funds secure health care access for the people who need it most.

"These are people who can't provide for their own care.  They may be seniors or those with special needs, or others who've fallen on hard times.  That's why federal health centers are so important.  This year, the republicans are giving an additional billion dollars to run federal health care facilities."

Family Health Network has five centers including this one in Cortland.

Centers like the Family Health Network serve over 150,000 low-income Central New Yorkers. While the Affordable Care Act mandates health insurance, Tenney says there’s a big difference between holding an insurance card and actually having access to care.

"We didn't solve the problem with the ACA.  We need to solve the problem now.  I don't care what we call it again.  It's semantics.  It has to be done.  This is federal health care that is being provided to people who are truly needy, which we've done and will continue to do." 

Tenney says the American Health Care Act, which did not pass the Senate, would have provided additional funding to federal health care facilities. 

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at