Treasurer Chiang Awards $8 Million to Buy Time for Community Health Clinics Undermined by President Trump

By: State Treasurer John Chiang

In California, we don’t turn our backs on those in need. We provide a helping hand to make sure all women, men, and children — including our undocumented immigrants — have access to the basic health care services they require. That’s why protecting the health care safety net from the destructive policies of the Trump administration has been a top priority. The Trump Administration’s efforts to undermine funding for safety net providers and restrict the way they provide care will have serious consequences that could leave our most vulnerable residents with limited access to primary or preventive care, and no option for treatment other than costly emergency room visits. Over 42 clinics, including 16 Planned Parenthood facilities serving rural and disadvantaged populations around the state, recently received $8 million to help them continue to provide comprehensive care while they search for new funding. The “Lifeline” Program is aptly named as these funds represent tangible results that not only benefit, but protect our friends and neighbors from the attacks of President Trump and his Administration.

The President’s actions are undermining the heath care safety net in multiple ways. The Administration is proposing a “gag rule” on family planning and women’s health providers that receive Title X funding-the largest source of federal funding for family planning services. Twenty five percent of Title X patients are in California .The “gag” rule is aimed at baring medical professionals from educating women on their full range of reproductive rights. This will disproportionately hurt women across California, and this nation, who rely on getting their health care information at community clinics. In fact, six out of 10 women use these clinics as their primary source of medical care. Cutting access to these funding sources weakens our safety net and deprives low-income and rural Californians access to basic health services.

President Trump’s actions also include regulatory actions that undermine the Affordable Care Act, and potential cuts to Medicaid and Medicare that adversely affect the ability of California’s safety net providers to continue to provide vital health services to California’s most vulnerable residents. His anti-immigration policies are causing immigrants and their families to stop participating in public insurance programs for which they are eligible, because they are afraid to use public services. Of course California’s clinics will continue to serve them and people will pay what they can, but it won’t make up for the amount they would have received, leaving clinics with less funding to provide care.

I sponsored the 2017 piece of legislation creating the Clinic Lifeline Act. The program was designed to specifically provide assistance to California’s safety net providers should the Trump Administration carry out its threats to slash budgets or change regulations for a range of programs. Those threats are now coming to pass. The Act provided $20 million in one-time emergency “lifeline grants” to support community clinics that provide vital health services to those with the largest need.

The Lifeline grants do not replace lost federal dollars, but rather act as mitigating funds to help clinics remain open while they develop new sources of funding. The first round of awards, announced Thursday, provide clinics with up to $250,000 each in emergency funds. Clinics will have to demonstrate the loss that they have suffered before actually receiving payments. Each recipient clinic has six months from the date of its award to receive reimbursement for documented expenses. If a clinic does not experience a loss, or does not utilize its entire award, the money reverts to the Treasurer’s Office for future grants.

The grants awarded were distributed to clinics throughout the state, including:

· $1.7 million to 11 Northern and Central California clinics

· $750,000 to three Central and coastal clinics

· $2.8 million to 12 Los Angeles and Ventura County clinics

· $2.9 million to 16 Southern California clinics

A second round of awards for the approximately $12 million in remaining funds are expected later this year.

The funding for the Lifeline Grant program comes from principle and interest payments that have accrued over the last 15 to 20 years in the Treasurer’s Help II Loan Program. The Help II Loan Program provides low-interest rate loans to California’s nonprofit small or rural health clinics for facilities and equipment.

For a complete list of the Lifeline recipients click here, and bookmark our fact sheet for a quick guide to Lifeline.

For further details on how to participate in the Lifeline program call (916) 653–2799 or email inquiries to chffa@treasurer.ca.gov.

The following article is based on remarks delivered by California State Treasurer John Chiang. To learn more about the Lifeline Grant program click here .