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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation


Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and The Uninsured


Affordable Care Act, Health Reform, Public Health, Community Health, Health Centers, Primary Care, Preventive Medicine


Today, over 1,100 federally funded community health centers play a vital role in ensuring access to health care for a predominantly low-income population in medically underserved communities. Health centers’ ability to provide comprehensive primary care and improve access to high-quality care while holding down health care cost growth has been well-documented. As health reform spurs coverage expansion and efforts to improve quality, the nation’s reliance on health centers is likely to grow.

In the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Congress invested $11 billion over five years to expand the health center program, to broaden access to care in lower-income communities as coverage expands. As policymakers and others gear up for ACA implementation, understanding the role of health centers and the characteristics of the people they serve is increasingly important. This brief provides a current snapshot of health centers and discusses recent developments that can be expected to have a significant impact on health center growth in the coming years.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Peer Reviewed


Open Access