(Memphis) While many of you are counting down to the new year, 16,000 Tennesseans are going to wake up Wednesday with no health insurance.
The State provided health insurance CoverTN ends because the Affordable Care Act takes effect.
It means many of the working poor will need to find another healthcare option.
The Church Health Center that serves the "working uninsured" expects to see a lot more patients now that CoverTN no longer exists.
“Many of those people will come to the Church Health Center because they are the very people we treat,” said CEO Dr. G Scott Morris. “Many of them are not aware, I am sure, that they are losing their coverage.”
Dr. Morris says these working poor will be left uncovered because the State of Tennessee chose not to expand Medicaid, as called for by the Affordable Care Act.
It means if you live alone and make between $11,500 and $16,000, you will not be qualified for Medicaid or healthcare subsidies if you live in the volunteer state.
With CoverTN ending, it means thousands of people will now rely on places like the Church Health Center that offers free healthcare to people who work at least 20 hours a week but don’t have health insurance.
“Nobody needs to be blaming Washington about this. It really is about the State of Tennessee and how we are dealing with the poorest people in our community.”
Dr. Morris says it’s exactly why the Church Health Center exists: to provide healthcare to the people who fall through the gaps.
“It’s sad that we cannot address these issues because these are the very people who work to make our lives comfortable. They shine your shoes, cook your food and one day will dig your grave.”
He says all of them deserve an affordable trip to the doctor.