September 6, 2009 6:00 AM

Noisy health-care debate overlooks free clinics' struggles

Over the past year, free clinics across the country have seen a 20 percent decrease in donations and a 40 percent to 50 percent increase in patients, said Nicole D. Lamoureux, the executive director of the National Association of Free Clinics. Last year, the clinics the association represents — which largely have been excluded from the health care debate — treated 4 million people. This year, Lamoureux expects, they'll serve some 8 million, 83 percent of whom come from homes in which at least one person works full time.

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