JOPLIN, MO.--- The Affordable Care Act went into affect yesterday. In Joplin, getting health insurance may limit where you can get care. Joplin Community Clinic Executive Director Barbara Bilton says the new health care reform law may be good for Joplin.
"If more people do actually get insurance, it would be good for the market place, it would be good for hospitals, it will be good for offices because they will actually be paid for the services they're rendering," said Barbara Bilton, Joplin Community Clinic Executive Director.
More people with insurance means less people coming to the Community Clinic, the facility only sees people who do not have insurance.
"If you have private insurance or Medicare, Medicaid, you need to go somewhere else," said Bilton.
Fewer people at the Community Clinic could mean more people getting care at Freeman Health System.
"We've been gearing up for several years for the onset of Obamacare and the prescribed health insurance for all individuals," said Paula Baker, Freeman Health System President.
Freeman officials don't know exactly how many more patients they may see.
"I don't know that we have really seen a large influx of patients due to the Affordable Health Care Act yet, but we have been anticipating that," said Baker.
While both facilities anticipate changes in the number of people coming through their doors for help, they know despite a mandatory call for insurance some people still won't get it.
"Whenever you have a mandate of any sort, you never have 100% participation," said Baker.
"People who couldn't afford it last year, still can't afford it today. So I don't think that has changed much," said Bilton.
So for the meantime, the Community Clinic will provide care to whoever needs it.
"At this point, we will continue to serve our community and to serve those who have no insurance and be here to meet the needs of our community," said Bilton.
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