Connections 2017

Goldsboro News Argus - Progress Edition

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24 S issy Lee- Elmore spreads out two issues of the Goldsboro News- Argus on her already full desktop. She shakes her head as she looks at front page headlines — one concerning a call to expand Medi- caid, the other to end the Affordable Care Act. The uncertainty makes her job, and that of the directors of the state's other 69 free clinics, even more compli- cated as they try to figure out what is next. "I have no clue because it is two people telling us two different things," she said. "I mean it is 180 (degrees). One's a Republican (President Donald Trump). One's a Democrat (Gov. Roy Cooper). I mean Cooper is saying 650,000 peo- ple, they make too much to get Medicaid. "I don't know what they are going to do, and I am the president of the North Carolina Associa- tion of Free and Charitable Clinics. So I usually have a little more up-to-date knowledge than the general public, and I have nothing. I don't know what's going to happen." Even after Obamacare, as the Affordable Care Act is also known, there are probably 20,000 uninsured in the county, she said. If Cooper is successful in expanding Medicaid, then probably half of the Wayne Action Teams for Community Health patients will qualify, which is good for them, Mrs. Lee-Elmore said. Roughly one out of 10 people in Wayne County have been WATCH patients. Patients must be a Wayne County resident and go through a screening process. Typically, 60 percent of the patients are female, and about 50 percent are black and 40 percent white. WATCH uses Wayne UNC Health Care's PayNav system to determine if a patient has insurance. "It will tell us if they have Medi- caid, Medicare or private insurance," she said. But even then it can be complicated to verify that a person is insured or not, Mrs. Lee-Elmore said. What is playing out in the state and nation is going to make it even more complicated, she said. Had Democrat Hillary Clinton won, Mrs. Lee- Elmore said Medicaid would have expanded. "I think Trump is getting some pushback on totally eliminating what has been put in place especially like the pre-existing conditions, and up to (age) 26 you can have your child on your insurance," she said. "I think those two things would stay, but other than that I have no clue." People are sicker than they used to be and wait longer before they look for help — mostly because of medical and insurance costs, she said. "People are buying Obamacare and are having $10,000 deductibles," Mrs. Lee-Elmore said. "If they can't afford insurance, how can they afford a $10,000 deductible for hospitalization? That is catastrophic cov- erage which is not what people need. Janice Jones breathes so that Kelli Corbett can listen to her chest on Tuesday, Jan. 31, on the WATCH Mobile Medical Unit that is parked in front of Food Lion in Pikeville. Jones has been a WATCH patient for over 10 years. Health care for the uninsured WATCH provides health services to the Wayne County population that does not have the benefit of health insurance, relying on cooperation from the organizations that offer grants and the county for funding to operate. See WATCH, Page 27 Story by STEVE HERRING Photos by CASEY MOZINGO Every Step Of The Way 919-734-4736 –– Princeton –– Pediatrics P.A. 919-936-3164 –– Mt. Olive –– Pediatrics P.A. 919-658-9123 –– LaGrange –– Pediatrics P.A. 252-566-5999 • Pediatrics 82DCT0215L©

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