WisSJ features Our Lady of Hope Clinic: Amid health care reform, free clinics see no end to need
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There was Donna Dalrymple, 48, a newly unemployed mental health aide.
There was Niabi Schmaltz, 21, just graduated from Northwestern University but working a restaurant job and not yet able to afford her employer’s insurance.
There was Kathleen McCain, 44, recently hired as a job coach for a nonprofit organization but still on probation and ineligible for benefits.
“I hear stories like these all the time,” said Dr. Michael Kloess, the free clinic’s executive director. He expects to still hear them after the federal Affordable Care Act is fully implemented.
“My take is you really can’t legislate away poverty,” said Kloess, who has been with the clinic since its opening in 2009. “There are still going to be those who would love to have insurance but won’t be able to afford it, and there will be those who choose not to avail themselves of insurance, for whatever reason.”
The new law uses a combination of mandates, subsidies and insurance exchanges in an attempt to increase affordability and coverage. The uninsured can begin signing up for coverage through government-subsidized private insurance exchanges on Tuesday.