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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Lawmakers look to free clinics as health care solution



CLEARWATER - When Janice Turner gets her blood pressure taken at the free clinic here or Joshua Canny sees a doctor for a swollen throat, they could be doing more than finding an affordable solution to their health care woes.

They could be helping Florida deal with its budget woes.

With a dwindling pool of state money available to cover the uninsured, lawmakers are increasingly turning one of the lowest-cost options of all: charity clinics.

At more than 100 clinics across the state, low-income Floridians can receive health care for much less than it would cost to buy insurance, often for free or a small donation.

"We understand that there is a need in our community and we need to provide access, and these clinics provide service that unfortunately is not being provided by others in our state," Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, said.

With budget negotiations between the House and Senate about to begin, the role of the clinics has been thrust into the spotlight.

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[Last modified: Friday, February 19, 2016 11:02am]


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