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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida health centers receive 'Obamacare' funding

Community health centers across Florida will share $21.4 million in funding made possible by the Affordable Care Act, even as the state government continues its fight to invalidate the healthcare overhaul.

The 15 Florida organizations receiving funding are part of a federal network of community health centers that cater to the poor and those lacking private insurance. The money received this year is expected to help the centers serve 41,190 new patients.

In total, $728 million is being allocated nationwide to support renovation and construction projects at community health centers. The federal government has earmarked billions of dollars for thousands of centers to expand services and reach more patients.

Other provisions of the health care law are also being implemented in Florida even as the Supreme Court considers the state’s motion to have the law declared unconstitutional. Though the Legislature has refused to implement certain areas the act, there are other provisions that don’t require the state to assist with implementation or pass through fund.

The community health centers expansion is one example. Others include a requirement that insurance companies provide free preventative care and contraception coverage; young adults can stay on their parents' plans until they turn 26; and seniors have wider access to low-cost prescriptions.

The law remains a focal point of Republicans, especially presidential candidates, who have called for a repeal of "Obamacare.” They have mainly taken issue with the individual mandate that requires people to either purchase health insurance or pay a penalty.

The federal government continues to push forward with implementation while also fighting against Florida and 26 other states who have taken their case against the law to the Supreme Court.

Here are the Tampa Bay area community health centers receiving funding today: Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners, $5 million; Community Health Centers of Pinellas, $869,197; Manatee County Rural Health Services, $170,000; Premier Community Health Group in Dade City, $253,750.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 1:59pm]


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