A report released August 2014 by the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics reveals that the nation’s 1,200 Free and Charitable Clinics have seen a 40 percent increase in patient demand, despite the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 31 million Americans will remain uninsured by 2024, including many who qualify for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act but face additional barriers to gaining coverage such as language barriers, lack of transportation options and physician shortages. As detailed in the new report, many of those who remain uninsured live in states that have chosen not to expand Medicaid coverage as permitted under the new health care law.
For decades, Free and Charitable Clinics have provided a range of medical, dental, pharmacy, vision and behavioral health services to economically disadvantaged Americans. In so doing, they have served as a safety net for those who have fallen through the cracks of America’s health care system — and studies have shown that they have also decreased the burden on the nation’s emergency rooms.
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