Murray Saves Health Care Program for the Uninsured

Jan 23 2003

Thousands in Washington state affected

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Senator Patty Murray has succeeded in restoring a $120 million cut to a health care program that helps provide care to thousands in Washington state and across the country.

The full Senate voted unanimously to support Murray's amendment to the FY 2003 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which restored $120 million for the Community Access Program (CAP).

CAP is a community-based program that helps provide health care for the uninsured and under-insured and has four grantees in Washington state.

“This is great news for working, uninsured families who are struggling with their health care,” said Murray. “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. CAP helps people get the care they need in a clinic or doctor’s office - instead of in the emergency room.”

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. Unfortunately, the new Senate leadership eliminated the funding when they rewrote the budget.

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 the Senate joined with me to do the right thing and restored CAP funding," Murray said.