Michelle Obama Announces Money for Health Clinics

By Lindsey Ellerson

Jun 29, 2009 5:22pm

ABC News' Yunji de Nies reports: Michelle Obama stepped into the health care policy debate this afternoon, criticizing the current state of care in America and announcing the release of $851 million in recovery funds to support community health centers.  The first lady's Office says the grant money will go toward upgrading and expanding more than 1,500 health centers across the country. "As you all know, we're at a critical juncture in the debate about health care in this nation.  The current system is economically unsustainable, and I don't have to tell any of you that.  And despite having the most expensive health care system in the world, we're not necessarily healthier for it,"she said to a small audience of patients and care providers at Unity Health Care clinic in Washington, D.C. "As the president and Congress begin to tackle health care reform, the flag is being raised on the costly effects of preventable diseases that burden our health care system. And community health centers like Upper Cardozo, Unity Health Care, are a vital component for this discussion," she continued.
 
The first lady said that 17 million Americans rely on community health centers, and that those centers help mitigate some of the costs of chronic illnesses, which consume 85% of the country's health care spending. "But it's more than just an economic issue, it's about the quality of life for all of our citizens, particularly our kids," Mrs. Obama said, noting that near a third of American children are overweight or obese and that a third will suffer from diabetes in their lifetime. "These statistics are shocking and I want people to really remember what's at stake," she said. "We don't have to suffer from this. We can fix this." FLOTUS Fashion Watch: Mrs. Obama wore a light gray elbow-length jacket with a large silver high waisted belt, and dark gray pants. She accessorized with several silver bangle bracelets and diamond earrings.

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