Homeless would benefit from health care reform

August 13, 2009 6:47:07 AM PDT
Part of the nation's population without health insurance is also without a place to sleep or food to eat. Among the nearly 50 million additional Americans who would benefit from having health coverage are an unknown number of homeless, who would become eligible for Medicaid under proposals being considered in Congress.

Many homeless do not seek or receive primary care, instead turning up in hospital emergency rooms when illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes or respiratory ailments flare up.

Homeless people with incomes under $14,400 a year would qualify under a plan being considered in the House. They could enroll at hospitals or clinics.

A 2007 survey counted 124,000 homeless nationwide, but advocates say the true number is much larger.

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