Locals have mixed emotions about health care ruling

By Sonya

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The implications of the Supreme Court health care ruling locally are still unclear, but it does have folks talking.

"Scared to death because I don't have the extra money obviously I'm selling blood to have enough money to make ends meet," said Donna Wall, who is uninsured. "I don't have the money to buy medical insurance."

Donna Wall is one of nearly 150,000 in Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties that are uninsured. Access Health TriCounty Network helps those individuals seek medical assistance.

"Fortunately, I'm a very healthy person, so I don't really have a lot, but Access Health helps to plug people in to see where they have some clinics, because there are clinics around. It's just not like having medical insurance or a doctor to go too," Wall said.

The main job of the organization is to navigate people through the complicated health care system. The executive director of Access Health was excited about Thursday's news.

"The fact that people will be mandated to have some sort of health care insurance is a great thing," said Rosalia Velazquez, executive director of Access Health TriCounty Network. "We are excited about that, and it will help an awful lot of residents in the tri-county area."

The problem is that most people that are uninsured simply can't afford it.

"We are living in a geography that there are some high levels of poverty. So, the bulk of our clients and the bulk of people who are uninsured are living at poverty levels. They do not have employment. They do not have resources," Velazquez said. "It's a large population living in poverty, so that's one of the biggest issues. We will also have numerous people that are what we call the working poor. They are working, but they are making possibly minimum wage. Their employer can not and does not provide them health insurance, so that is another issue in the area."

Velazquez says there is a lot of work for her agency, but they want to be a significant player in this process as it moves forward.

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