Bay area doctors say proposed healthcare changes could limit patient's options

People brace for possible healthcare changes
Posted at 6:10 PM, Mar 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-07 18:10:54-05

Staff at the Community Health Centers of Pinellas County's 10 locations can see around 5 to 600 patients every day.

They've seen an increase of patients since lawmakers set up the Affordable Care Act.

RELATED: Republicans' Obamacare replacement bill: The winners and losers

However, as lawmakers consider replacing the law, Dr. Michelle Threadgill fears some patients may see more limitations on what type of care they'll be able to afford.

"It makes a difference when there are services that are needed that we don't provide," she said.

The clinics take patients with or without insurance, but that's not the case for places that offer more specialized care to treat conditions like asthma or diabetes.

Republican lawmakers are looking to replace the current law to base tax credits by age which could impact older recipients.

RELATED: Tampa Congresswoman calls GOP plan "harmful"

However, not everyone is as worried about the changes.

Ernisa Barnwell is a small business owner who offers online certification training in braiding for hair stylists.

She says the Affordable Care Act forced her sub-contract employees.

"Because right now I can't afford to take care of them health wise and benefits as well," she said.

Lawmakers are proposing changes that wouldn't penalize people or businesses who chose not to be insured.

While she thinks health care should be available for all, she's hopeful the new plan will consider her challenges as a small business owner.

"Everyone needs to have something at least basic they can turn to," she said.

Dr. Threadgill is also optimistic, with a promise she knows she can keep for her patients.

"Regardless of the changes that are coming or may come," she said, "We're still their medical home and we're available for them."



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