NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Close to 3,000 East Texans across six counties could be shut out of health care if Congress doesn't fix the health center funding cliff. That's from the director of the East Texas Community Health Center in Nacogdoches.
Federal funding supporting health centers across the nation expires after September.
The waiting rooms are full at the East Texas Community Health Center in Nacogdoches. More than 9,300 men, women and children from Nacogdoches, Angelina, Cherokee, Shelby, San Augustine, and Sabine counties rely on the health center for primary and preventive care services.
Director Robin Moore's concern is that 2,700 patients won't be served in the future if the health center falls off the funding cliff.
"If Congress does nothing then we will lose up to 70 percent of our federal grant, which is 28 or 29 percent of our total budget," Moore said.
The funding cliff is at its steepest in states like Texas where Republican leadership did not expand Medicaid and has yet to ask for a Medicaid waiver.
"The state's leaving billions of dollars on the table," Moore said.
The Medicaid expansion, combined with Affordable Care Insurance coverage, were designed to create less reliance on federal operational funding. Instead, political moves against the Affordable Care Act has placed health centers on the edge of disaster.
"We figure we will lose 30 of our 70 employees," Moore said. "You know we face a loss that will take us back to about 1995 funding levels. We weren't nearly this big in '95."
Moore has one course of action.
"I need the public's help," Moore said.
A constituent letter writing campaign found on the East Texas Community Health Center's website is designed to generate at least one 1,000 letters to senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert.
Moore is hopeful, but knows the situation in Washington, D.C.
"Congress has been really good lately at not taking action," Moore said. "That's the scary part."
Moore will travel to Washington D.C. next week to meet personally with congressional leaders in an effort to get them to fix the health center funding cliff.