"This is the Affordable Care Act in action. It's actually working to help the community."
Standing inside a partially-constructed dental clinic area, with boards, saws, drywall, and laborers all around, Bridge Community Health Clinic Executive Director Laura Scudiere showed off the progress they're making Tuesday in Wausau. "It's nice to see because it is a manifestation of what the Affordable Care Act has done for our community," Scudiere said. "We will be able to see many more dental patients, and actually addressing the crisis in our area."
Scudiere was demonstrating the clinic's work for Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, during Baldwin's stop at the Wausau health center. Bridge Community Health Clinic, which serves patients in primary care, dentistry, and behavioral health, will expand their dental coverage as a direct result of President Obama's Affordable Care Act, of which Baldwin is an ardent supporter.
"What we're talking about right now is how the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act is going to affect the community services that (Bridge is) providing," Baldwin said.
Bridge Clinic won a grant out of Obamacare funds to build their dental addition, which will cost $3.38 million dollars. It will allow them to serve about 7,000 additional patients from the Wausau area, most of which are low-income, relying on Medicaid for care. Baldwin touted the accomplishment as a tangible, positive benefit of the Affordable Care Act.
"(I'm excited about) the role that Bridge Street clinic is going to play in doing outreach to folks who can now sign up for insurance in the insurance marketplace," she said.
"Senator Baldwin has been a big advocate for the Affordable Care Act, and she was a big part of making it happen, drafting many parts of the plan that I personally feel were a benefit to our patients and the community," Scudiere said.
As for conservative threats to shut down the federal government if Obamacare isn't defunded, Baldwin isn't impressed.
"What we need is more certainty and more regular order rather than these wild threats to shut down government or not have government pay its bills," she said.
Bridge Clinic's new dental space will open in October.