Under Obamacare, HHS Spending Another $100M on 150 New Community Health Centers

By Susan Jones | July 8, 2014 | 11:56 AM EDT

President Barack Obama speaks at Temple Emanu-El Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013, in Dallas, as he promotes his health care law. (AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News)

(CNSNews.com) - The Affordable Care Act not only subsidizes health insurance for millions of Americans -- it also pays for new community health centers where that government-mandated insurance can be used.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced on Tuesday that it plans to make a total of $100 million available in Affordable Care Act funding to support an estimated 150 new community health centers across the country in fiscal year 2015. (The maximum is $650,000 per funding application.)

That's in addition to the more than 550 new health centers that have opened in the last three years as a result of Obamacare funding.

“In communities across the country, Americans turn to their local Community Health Center for vital health care services that help them lead healthy, productive lives,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell in a news release announcing the funding opportunity. “That’s why it’s so important that the Affordable Care Act is supporting the expansion of health centers.”

Depending on the availability of appropriated funds, the $100 million will go to new health centers in communities that need it the most, such as Decatur, Georgia. (Burwell plans to visit a health center in Decatur later today -- to "talk with its health care professionals about the important work they are doing to connect the community with high quality primary care," HHS said.)

Right now, according to HHS, nearly 1,300 health centers operate more than 9,200 service delivery sites that provide care to more than 21 million patients in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Basin.  

And these government-supported health centers also play a "critical role" in helping people to enroll in Obamacare:

"Since last fall, health centers have provided enrollment assistance to more than 4.7 million people across the country,” said Mary Wakefield, head of HHS's Health Resources and Services Administration.

"We are pleased that the Affordable Care Act is supporting the establishment of additional health center sites to provide expanded opportunities for the newly insured to receive care."

The Affordable Care Act established the Community Health Center Fund, which provides $11 billion over a five-year period for the operation, expansion, and construction of health centers throughout the nation.