All News & Blogs
Patrick Neustatter's op-ed column on the challenges being faced by the Moss Free Clinic.
Medical professionals assist patients during evening hours at the Moss Free Clinic.
MIKE MORONES/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Visit the Photo Place
THE Clinical Services
The Moss Free Clinic is
But there are many people who have fallen on hard times. People like the woman who spent the last of her savings to come here for a job that never materialized; people on their spouses' insurance whose marriages have fallen apart; people living in tents in the woods behind Central Park or rotating through homeless shelters; people who are working but still don't earn enough to pay for health insurance (which I don't have to tell you is a pricey commodity).
People who got sick, and are unable to keep working, so they lose their health insurance--the "Catch-22" of our health care system.
Sure, these folks aren't always the best at taking care of themselves--which is not so different from the population I was treating when I was in practice. But they are not a lot of spongers who are happy to be taken care of. Nor are they all victims of their own neglect and sloth, as some people seem to think.
To be eligible to be a patient at the Moss Clinic you have to be in fairly desperate straits. You have to have an annual income below 125 percent of federal poverty guideline (that guideline is an income of $11,170 for a single person or $23,050 for a family of four), and no health insurance.
What will happen to these people if the Moss Clinic, or other clinics that participate in the so-called "safety net," can't fit them in?
One of my bad jokes is that working at the clinic is reminiscent of working in mission hospitals in Zimbabwe and Haiti--at least with people who have been deprived of health care for a while and show up at Moss.
But this is America.