With Uncertain Affordable Care Act, Clinic Sees More Patients - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

With Uncertainty of Affordable Care Act, Orange Free Clinic Sees More Patients

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Orange County Free Clinic Orange County Free Clinic

Just ahead of its fall open house, the Orange County Free Clinic is celebrating a milestone. It now has more than 2,000 registered patients.

Given the uncertainty of the Affordable Care Act, people who do not have insurance say it's more reason for free clinics to help people in the here and now.

"The right thing to do is look out for the people that can't afford it, and I'm one of them," said George White, a patient.

White is one of the millions of Americans who do not have health insurance. He says he's not relying on Washington to come through.

"It's a lot kids' play going on with grownups and playing with people's lives. I'm not holding my breath on what they're going to do," said White.

"They say affordable, but for each person there is a different affordable, you may make it $150 a month, that may be affordable to this person, but to me that's not going to be affordable," said Debra Bryant, another patient.

But in the middle of all the uncertainty, there is one place White and thousands of others have been able to count on, the Orange County Free Clinic.

"If some of our patients do qualify, of course we would want them to move on, but at the same time most of our patients will not qualify, so if Virginia opts out, we will still be their primary care physicians," said Alyson Hodge, fundraising coordinator for the Orange County Free Clinic.

The clinic's demand has grown over the years starting with just 86 patients in 2007 providing primary medical care and prescription assistance without any government funding - but through community support.

Thursday, the clinic will have its fall open house to show how far it has come.

"It's really a time where we think we should invite everyone over into our clinic and open our doors and say thank you," said Hodge.

As for the patients, they are thankful that the clinic has given them hope and options during times when it seemed like there were none.

"Not everybody can afford this insurance like everybody else can, so having this building open is the best thing we could have here. Come to the free clinic," said Sally Holmes, a patient.

The clinic relies on grants, individual donors, and foundations. The fall open house is this Thursday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.  

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