Something Bush Got Right on Healthcare?

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Looks like my list of the things Bush got right left something out. From the New York Times:

Although the number of uninsured and the cost of coverage have ballooned under his watch, President Bush leaves office with a health care legacy in bricks and mortar: he has doubled federal financing for community health centers, enabling the creation or expansion of 1,297 clinics in medically underserved areas.

For those in poor urban neighborhoods and isolated rural areas, including Indian reservations, the clinics are often the only dependable providers of basic services like prenatal care, childhood immunizations, asthma treatments, cancer screenings and tests for sexually transmitted diseases….

With the health centers now serving more than 16 million patients at 7,354 sites, the expansion has been the largest since the program’s origins in President Lyndon B. Johnson’s war on poverty, federal officials said…. The centers now serve one of every three people who live in poverty and one of every eight without insurance.

But there’s more work to be done. An August study found that 43 percent of the country’s medically underserved areas lack a health center site and the National Association of Community Health Centers and the American Academy of Family Physicians estimated last year that 56 million people are “medically disenfranchised” because they cannot reach adequate primary care. There’s hope that Obama will expand the centers’ reach when in office. His healthcare point man, Tom Daschle, referred to them as a “godsend” in a recent book, and Michelle Obama worked with community health centers when vice president at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Just another factor in the amazingly complex quest to get every American healthcare, one that President Bush deserves a degree of credit for.

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"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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