News Releases

Health Care Program Saved by Murray Remains in Spending Bill

Feb 13 2003

Thousands of uninsured Washington residents will have access to care

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - The $120 million cut to the Community Access Program (CAP) that Senator Murray restored in the Senate Omnibus Spending bill will remain in the final conference report sent to the President.

The CAP program provides health care to thousands of uninsured and under-insured across the country and has four grantees in Washington state alone.

"This is great news for working, uninsured families who are struggling with their health care," Murray said. "At a time when thousands of Washingtonians have lost their jobs and their health insurance, we simply cannot afford to put more families in jeopardy."

Last session, as a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Senator Murray helped author a spending bill that included $120 million for CAP - the same amount provided in the fiscal year 2002 spending bill. The new Senate leadership eliminated this funding when they rewrote the budget, but thanks to the hard work of Senator Murray, an amendment restoring the funds was included in the bill that passed the Senate last month. The funding was agreed to today in the House-Senate Conference agreement.

"CAP is not a partisan issue, it's a human issue," Senator Murray said. "CAP helps people get the care they need in a clinic or doctor's office instead of in the emergency room."

In the last two years, 156,000 Washingtonians have lost their health insurance. Absent a coordinated community-based approach to care, the uninsured either end up in the Emergency Room or go without care. Both of these factors add to the escalating cost of health care.

Currently, CAP grants support 158 communities in urban and rural areas across the country.

CAP has been particularly successful in Washington state, where four CAP grantees provide health care for those without health insurance. These grantees are:

CHOICE Regional Health Network (serving Thurston, Grays Harbor, Mason, Pacific, and Lewis Counties) Community Choice PHCO Network (serving Chelan, Okanogan and Douglas Counties), The Health Improvement Partnership (serving Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Lincoln and Spokane Counties), "Kids Get Care" program (serving King County) "Washington state CAP grantees are working with vulnerable populations to provide health care where we need it most. I am relieved that Congress joined with me to do the right thing and restored CAP funding," Murray said.