The Affordable Care Act is spelling the demise of free healthcare clinics across the country, The Wall Street Journal
Of clinics across 28 states, almost a dozen in the past two years have cited Obamacare as their reason for shutting their doors.
Both The Good Samaritan Free Clinic in Rock Island, Illinois, and the Ninth Street Ministries Free Medical Clinic in Polk County, Arkansas, shut their doors this year saying their missions were complete. Now that most of their former clients have medical insurance, many through expanded Medicaid, they are no longer needed, they say.
"When we started we said if there ever was almost universal health care, our mission was accomplished," Good Samaritan co-founder Kerry Humes told the Journal.
Dr. Rick Lochala, founder of Ninth Street clinic, told My Pulse News
earlier this year the closure was bittersweet.
But other clinics aren't closing for lack of need. They simply can't find enough donors since many who had been opening their wallets are now under the impression that universal coverage exists.
"As soon as there was the perception of universal healthcare, the likelihood of receiving donations goes down," Colin McRae, a board member for Savannah Georgia's Community Health Mission, which closed Oct. 30. The clinic still had people on a waiting list to be treated when it shut down.
Patients in states that didn't expand Medicaid, though, still need their free or low-cost healthcare, and are finding it increasingly hard to find.
And some who are not covered by Medicaid aren't happy. Sixty-year-old Ella Relford told the Journal she would have preferred to continue seeing her doctor at the Western Stark Free Clinic in Massillon, Ohio.
Rather than close, some clinics are finding new services to offer, such as dental and mental health services – and accepting Medicaid patients.
"They’re seeing people return to them because they can’t afford their medication or find a provider," Nicole Lamoureux, executive director of the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, told the Journal.
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