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Free Health Care Clinic in Hartford Attracts Over 1,000
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As part of Governor Rell's budget proposal, the state could save $10 million by requiring small co-pays from Medicaid recipients and increasing co-pays for Medicare part D patients. While Rell was delivering her State of the State address, at least 200 people showed up before the doors opened at a free clinic inside the Hartford Convention Center.
As WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports, many of them were frustrated because they don't qualify for state or federal healthcare assistance.

49 year old Leonard Wiggins of Hartford is a diabetic. In his hands are papers showing his six different prescriptions. But Wiggins says he hasn't been taking his medicine.

"I have high blood pressure and high cholesterol. And I cannot afford my medications. I bring $200 a week for unemployment and they tell me I make too much money. They will not give me no type of medical help. "

Wiggins says he showed up at the Free Clinic to find out a way to get affordable prescriptions because he's ineligible for state assistance.

"We're finding that many people are prescribed medications are brand name and are not off the $4 formularies and we'll able to work with them and get them on medications that fit their pricepoints a little better."

That's Executive Director of the National Association of Free Clinics, Nicole Lamoureux. She says the Hartford event is the fifth the association has held since last September. And in each city, a clear trend has emerged about the newly uninsured.

"None of our patients take Medicare or Medicaid. They make too much money for that and they don't make enough to get health insurance. That's a staggering number for people who are working one even two jobs who can't get the healthcare they need."

Lamoureux says 1,000 residents signed up.  That doesn't include walk-ins hoping to be seen during the 7-hour event.

She says many people don't know about "permanent" free clinics in Hartford, Newtown, and Stamford.

For WNPR, I'm Lucy Nalpathanchil.