|By Dave Helling, The Kansas City Star|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Also Thursday, the
Both announcements are the direct result of changes coming from the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform package considered the central achievement of President
People now realize "the Affordable Care Act is here to stay," said
Nixon's announcement will likely have the most long-term significance. If he can convince the Republican legislature to expand
But it won't be easy --
Founded in 1971, the facility has never accepted patients with insurance -- clients who carried coverage were referred to other facilities. Instead, relying on more than 1,000 volunteers, it has provided free services in exchange for voluntary donations, which this year reached
This January, the clinic becomes the
Free Health Clinic CEO
Wood emphasized that the largely volunteer clinic will still accept patients who can't afford to pay anything. That's been the non-profit's mission since its beginning as the
Over the years the clinic evolved into a facility for anyone without health insurance. Some referred to the
But the ACA anticipates a major increase in the number of people eligible for
The clinic serves roughly 15,000 patients a year. Its
The clinic's last tax return showed it lost
After getting treatment at the clinic Wednesday,
"I wouldn't be able to afford my blood pressure medication or get my back adjusted," she said. "Such wonderful people here."
The changing nature of the
Other, broader ACA changes are on the way:
-- Federal payments to hospitals and other providers to cover care for the uninsured will start dropping next year to help pay for expanded
-- Hospitals, businesses and providers are figuring out how to comply with record-keeping and other requirements.
A coalition of health care providers released a report Wednesday concluding an expanded
For that spending, the report concluded, the state could increase its
Nixon's office did not reveal the specifics of his announcement this morning, but the health care community widely anticipates support for expanded
Republicans in the
"I don't think you automatically just have the knee jerk response that we should just expand
With or without expanded
"Clinics across the country are out trying to raise money to implement some of these changes," he said. "We're involved in a capital campaign to raise some of that, but we don't think it will cover any of the staffing we're going to need."
(c)2012 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.)
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