The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics will be holding its next C.A.R.E. (Communities Are Responding Everyday) Clinic in Madison, WI on Saturday, August 9, 2014 at the Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center.
While Wisconsin may not be the obvious choice and many may ask – why go to a state where there has been a version of Medicaid expansion, where the uninsured rate has lowered and is only 10% for the state? – the NAFC wants to make sure that the 50+ Free and Charitable Clinics across the state and the work they do daily is not forgotten.. We want to make sure that the 10%, or approximately 222,000 people, that will remain without insurance are not overlooked. We want to make sure that it is understood that while the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is just a first step to lowering the number of uninsured, it is not a universal system and it does not solve the health care access issues in this country in their entirety.
It might be easier and more obvious to go to a state where Medicaid hasn’t expanded, and we do hope to continue these C.A.R.E. clinics in the future so that we can visit other cities as well. For this next clinic however, the focus is not on settling for a low percentage of individuals without healthcare but on aiming for zero. It is on remembering that these statistics are actual people who continue to make decisions between seeing a doctor and putting food on the table, and that these people feel left behind more now than ever because so many people think that the problem is solved.
In Dane County alone there are roughly 50,000 people without insurance. Just today an article was published that discusses how the Dane County Board of Supervisors are going to be voting to put a referendum on the November ballot allowing voters to weigh in on whether the state should accept millions in federal funding to expand Medicaid (http://host.madison.com/news/local/writers/jessica_vanegeren/dane-county-could-vote-to-urge-scott-walker-to-accept/article_2cf5cdb4-0c64-11e4-ac1a-001a4bcf887a.html#ixzz37ePsyqEL). The article mentions that an estimated 5,000 Dane County residents will lose eligibility of their BadgerCare program because the governor declined federal funding. This is just one example of the continued need in the area. Throughout the county and state, Free and Charitable clinics are seeing consistently full waiting rooms, and continue to have to face the harsh reality of not being able to help all people and turning them away.
Our hope with the Madison C.A.R.E. Clinic is that we as citizens will not only look at the numbers of uninsured or those without access but that we collectively remember that these are people’s lives we are talking about, not just statistics. We hope that individuals in communities throughout not only Wisconsin but across the nation will support their local Free and Charitable clinics and will consider volunteering to give back to their neighbors in need. Our goal in Madison, as always, is for the medically underserved to not only get the access to health care they need but to connect these individuals with important community resources, follow up care and health education, while also giving them something a little bit more, HOPE.
Here is some basic information on the Madison Clinic:
Both medical and non-medical volunteers are needed for this event. For more information on the clinic and to register to volunteer please visit: http://www.cvent.com/d/l4qxvf.
Patients can call 800-340-1301 to schedule an appointment.
If you would like to donate to help the NAFC continue holding C.A.R.E. Clinics in various cities throughout the country, please visit www.nafcclinics.org and click on “DONATE NOW.”
Thank you, and we hope to see you in Madison!