Locals without insurance react to the Health Care Reform Law

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Supreme Court's ruling on The Health Care Reform Law upheld the individual mandate. That means every American must have health insurance, or pay a fine.

The court struck down the law's medicaid expansion, that would have required states to offer more coverage to the poor.

But, many people who currently don't have insurance in Tennessee, simply can't afford it.

For 19 years, East Tennesseans have relied on Dr. Tom Kim for free medical care. "They're not able to pay the premium monthly," he said.

But, Dr. Kim said that is not going to change, with the Supreme Court's decision.

Janet Ford was at The Free Clinic in South Knoxville Thursday, shortly after the ruling came down. She said, "But, I can't afford insurance because I have no income coming in."

Ford's health issues keep her from working, but also require her to see a doctor regularly. That's where Dr. Kim comes in.

When asked how she will pay for required insurance, she said, "If it's not too high I'm sure that some people could finally scrape up enough money to pay for insurance, but my gosh, some people can't."

Of course she someone didn't pay for insurance, they could pay a penalty. "How's people going to pay a fine when they can't work?" Janet said.

Some people would have to cut other costs to pay for insurance. Janet said, "Gas wise and insurance wise, so you wouldn't be able to drive I guess."

Christopher Patrick already has a stack of bills every month. "I have a substantial amount of rent to pay, and utilities, you have to eat, transportation," he said.

Patrick wants to know what insurance will cost him? "I can save 10, 20-bucks a month to pay for insurance, but what happens if it's 2 or 300 dollars a month? Then I can't afford it."

Christopher said, "I have a part-time job but they don't offer any type of benefits on a part-time job."

So he is focused on losing weight. The real goal being a healthier life could help lower the future insurance premiums.

Dr. Kim also said, "All smokers who doesn't have insurance, better quit. You'd save 2 or 3-thousand dollars a year."

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