Middletown health provider testifies in Washington, but will anyone (in power) hear her?

Margaret Flinter, senior vice president of the Middletown-based Community Health Center, testified in Washington today about the importance of federal funding for such local health clinics.

She said a $7 million federal investment is helping her Middletown facility double its capacity, creating new health care and construction jobs in that community, not to mention increasing health care access for poor residents.

But if ever there was a case of preaching to the converted, Flinter’s testimony was it.

Her remarks, after all, were made not to a full-fledged House committee, but to 11 House Democrats, all members of the minority party’s Steering and Policy Committee. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat from Connecticut’s 3rd District, is co-chair of that panel, and helped organize today’s session.

The session, one in a series of such Democratic “hearings,” was designed to highlight the health reform law’s positive economic impact-other witnesses also spoke about the new jobs being spurred by the Affordable Care Act. It also gives lawmakers like DeLauro an opportunity to vent about various House Republican proposals to undo or defund health care, among other things.

At today’s session, she noted that the GOP has called for deep cuts to community health centers (CHCs), calling that “reckless” and saying it would “prove disastrous.” She said Congress should be expanding the federal investment in CHCs instead of trimming them down.

Since there were no Republicans in the room, there was no debate. DeLauro’s suggestion was met with nods of approval from her Democratic colleagues at today’s event, as well as from the panelists.

But since Democrats no longer hold the purse strings in that chamber, it’s pretty unlikely, no matter how compelling a case Flinter could make.