TALLAHASSEE — 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 health care 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 case to have the law declared unconstitutional. Though the Legislature has refused to implement certain areas of the act, there are other provisions that don't require the state to assist with implementation or pass through funds.
The community health centers expansion is one example. Others include a requirement that insurance companies provide free preventative care and contraception coverage; young adults staying on their parents' plans until they turn 26; and seniors having wider access to low-cost prescriptions.
Since being elected, Florida Gov. Rick Scott has urged the state to reject millions of dollars in funding tied to the law. Still, money tied to health care reform has found its way to Florida. Earlier this year, a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures noted that Florida had received $119.6 million in Affordable Care Act grants during the first two years under the law.
Here are the Tampa Bay area community health centers receiving funding: 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.