A member of the Dubuque City Council says it’s still an uphill battle for her city to get federal funding for a medical clinic that’d serve uninsured Dubuque area residents. Dubuque City Councilwoman Ann Michalski is attending the Congress of Cities convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, this week and brought up the issue with her peers.
Michalski is a member of the group’s human development policy committee. The panel voted to urge the National League of Cities board to lobby federal officials to change the requirements for cities that want to get federal money for a community health center. Dubuque has applied several times, but has failed to get federal backing for a community health center.
She says with new funding requirements, a city must show “extraordinary need” and a lack of cooperation in the community to provide health services to the needy. “We think this is penalizing people for doing a good job,” Michalski says. She can’t guess how many people in the Dubuque area need the services of a free community health clinic.
“But we do know that like all communities in the United States and in Iowa we have a very substantial number of people who are uninsured and underinsured,” she says. “We’re a city of 56,000 people and we’re sure that we would have more people ready to use the clinic than we would even be able to serve with very good funding.” Dubuque has received a state grant to plan to open a free health clinic, but has never gotten the federal money that Michalski says would be used for general year-to-year operations.
Michalski has been a member of the Dubuque City Council since 1995. She is retired, but had been the human resources director at the Gannon Center for Community Mental Health in Dubuque.