Free health clinic worries what healthcare bill could mean for p - WNEM TV 5

Free health clinic worries what healthcare bill could mean for patients

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
GENESEE COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

The House of Representatives passed a comprehensive healthcare bill on Thursday.

A Mid-Michigan doctor said she hasn't read the whole bill yet, but it has left her with a lot of uncertainty.

The Genesee County Free Medical Clinic is where low-income, uninsured people go for their healthcare needs. Whether it's diabetics in need of insulin or cardiac patients and EKGs. Most of the patients show up with a preexisting condition.

"We help people who have no insurance. From no medical home to permanent medical home. And that really brings a lot of rewards and smiles on patients," said Dr. Rima Kudish, executive director of the clinic.

The clinic is worried about what could happen to many of their patients if the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, goes away.

The U.S. House passed a bill to repeal the law. That bill is now in the Senate. It would eliminate protections for people with preexisting conditions and overhaul Medicaid, eliminating money for Medicaid expansion.

"Medicaid expansion is a great deal and we want to be sure that it stays in place," Kudish said.

She said Medicaid expansion has allowed her and her staff of volunteers to help patients to continue to receive coverage.

"We have had people come here who have been out of medications for two years with blood pressures way up," said Mary Keyser, clinic employee.

Under the new bill insurers wouldn't be required to cover things like prescription drugs and requirements could vary by state.

In Genesee County medical professionals said the low-income population would be hit hard by an overhaul of Medicaid.

"We see a lot of people who come here that had Medicaid that no longer have it and sometimes it's 30, 60, 90 days before they can get it back<" Keyser said.

The clinic serves people who fall within 200 percent of the poverty level. If the ACA goes away they said they will have so many patients they will have to have a waiting list.

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