A new report released by the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC) reveals that over the last two years 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.
“One of the most common misconceptions about how the United States will look after the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is that there will no longer be a need for Free and Charitable Clinics to continue to provide charity care as a vital component of the healthcare safety net” said Nicole Lamoureux, NAFC Executive Director. “Free and Charitable Clinics will remain an important part of the national healthcare safety net. In the upcoming months and years, doctors, hospitals, navigators, states, clinics and patients will be addressing the needs of the underserved with respect to affordability, portability and accessibility of health care for all.”
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.
The report is available to the public at http://nafcclinics.org/resources/infographic. Additionally, state specific infographics will also be available on the NAFC website the week of August 18, 2014.
About the Organization:
The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics is the only nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is solely focused on the issues and needs of more than 1,200 Free and Charitable Clinics and the people they serve in the United States.
Founded in 2001 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., the NAFC is an effective advocate for the issues and concerns of Free and Charitable Clinics, their volunteer workforce of doctors, dentists, nurses, therapists, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, technicians and other health care professionals, as well as the patients served by Free and Charitable Clinics in communities throughout the nation. For more information, go to: www.nafcclinics.org.