As the debate in Congress surrounding health care reform continues, there are millions of Americans who don’t have access to affordable health care and are desperately waiting on Congress to pass a final bill. Since it could still be awhile before any meaningful reform goes into effect, local communities are often left trying to make sure their residents at least have access to the most basic care which can be difficult considering how much the insurance companies are driving up the costs.
Realizing the difficulties facing local community organizations, Rep. Gerry Connolly stepped forward to help secure funding for the Greater Prince William County Community Health Center. After the Prince William Board of Supervisors under the leadership of Republican Corey Stewart decided to remove its support of the crucial health center, Gerry was able to secure funding for it under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. He was also able to work with the center’s staff and the Department of Health and Human Services to make it easier for the center to secure even more funding in the future if necessary. This not only made sure the staff members would be able to keep their jobs but also was able to make sure Prince William residents continued to have access to this valuable resource.
A lot of people have taken notice of Gerry’s commitment to ensuring people in Prince William County have access to health care and he was awarded the 2010 Distinguished Community Health Defender Award for his efforts. The award was presented to him on Thursday by the National Association of Community Health Centers, the Virginia Community Healthcare Association, and the Prince William health center staff and highlighted his “commitment during the First Session of the 111th Congress to strengthen access to quality health care for medically underserved Americans.”
“I am committed to the health center’s mission of helping under-insured residents and other Prince William residents in need to obtain medical care at a reasonable cost in lieu of using emergency rooms that raise the cost of health care for us all,” Connolly said in a statement last week. “I appreciate the award I received for my efforts, but those who really deserve the award are the dedicated staff members of the Greater Prince William Community Health Center who provide such an important service to the community.”
With some members of Congress standing in the way of real health care reform, I’m glad to see that Gerry Connolly is taking leadership on the issue and working to ensure that people in Northern Virginia can receive the best care possible. The way things are going it could be awhile before we see health care reform pass, but at least there are some small victories that we can celebrate along the way. With that in mind, my congratulations go out to Gerry for receiving the 2010 Distinguished Community Health Defender Award.