Free Atlanta health clinic worried about changes to Obamacare - CBS46 News

Free Atlanta health clinic worried about changes to Obamacare

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(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)
ATLANTA (CBS46) -

Crews at a free health clinic in Atlanta are worried they might have to bear the burden of the domino effect from the proposed change to Obamacare. 

A nurse practitioner student in training was examining 7-year-old Inez Pena for tummy trouble.

"So when I ate a tres leche, my stomach starting hurting," says Inez.

That's what brought the second grader and her mom to the Community Advanced Practice Nurses Free Clinic. The non-profit made up of mostly volunteer medical professionals helps 3,000 people a year, many of whom have no other choice.

"You don't know what to do, you cannot go to a doctor to pay because you don't have the money to pay, so when you have clinics like this, you're like, I'm safe, I can take my daughter to check her, and you feel good," says Stephanie Pena.

The family doesn't have Obamacare or Medicaid.

"You have to be below poverty level to get on Medicaid in Georgia," says Connie Buchanan, who is the clinic's director and nurse practitioner.

The Congressional Budget Office analysis found that 5 million fewer Americans would be covered under Medicaid by next year if the Republican Health Care plan passes.

Buchanan worries the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare might make her patient load skyrocket.

"I'm really worried that we're going to see death, that we're going to see chronic disease left untreated, and I think it'll be so subtle that maybe the numbers won't show up immediately," says Buchanan. 

In the other exam room was Amy Smith and her 7-month-old, Serenity. The single mom has a double need for the free clinic -- treatment for Crohn's Disease and her baby's post-natal care.

"They are able to help me with medications that I'm not able to afford, and once I had my daughter, a lot of assistance. They were able to help provide this for me," says Smith.

The clinic director says they're bracing for a wave of people who might lose insurance, and since they rely on donations, they're looking for corporate sponsors to help keep the lights on.

Copyright 2017 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. 

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