How will Affordable Care Act Affect Free Clinics?

SUNBURY — The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act raises questions about how it will affect free health care clinics.

“A Community Clinic” in Sunbury is a place for un-insured people to get free health care. The doctor in charge of the clinic said he is not sure how the act will affect his patients, but he believes the clinic will be able to stay open.

Tim Moyer lives in Sunbury, and does not have health insurance. He depends on a free health care clinic when he is not feeling well.

“It’s a good thing. A lot of people don’t have insurance so they help them out, stuff like that,” said Moyer.

The clinic provides free health care for people without insurance, but what will happen in 2014 when all Americans are required to have health insurance?  Doctor John Pagana said he is not sure how the Affordable Care Act will affect his clinic.

“We’re going to be there for them. We’re going to help our communities, these four counties in this area, and continue to help as long as they need us. If we go out of business, that’s okay too, but I really don’t think that’s going to happen. I really don’t,” said Dr. Pagana.

Dr. Pagana said there are more than 45 million people without health insurance in the United States, and he does not believe the health care reform will take care of everyone.  He still sees a need for free clinics.

Dr. Pagana said “A Community Clinic” sees around 25 patients a day. He knows the clinic may not be as busy when the affordable care act takes full effect.

“I’m here to pick up these people that are falling through the cracks. That’s my job. I just want to make sure everyone gets the care they need, whether they can afford it or not,” said Dr. Pagana.

That is reassuring for Moyer who said if the clinic closed, he’d have a lot of money troubles.

“I’d be spending a lot more money on health care. Basically, I got to get a better job, one that offers insurance, or they should make employers offer insurance,” said Moyer.

Dr. Pagana said he will continue to run his free clinic in Sunbury until people stop coming.

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