Free Clinics Offer Hope For The Uninsured

(CBS) Kimberlee Maloney has been a registered nurse all her working life, but she recently lost her job and her health insurance, too.

“It’s devastating because every day you wake up and think, ‘Today I hope there’s nothing wrong,'” she says.

Kimberlee came to the Genessee County Free Medical Clinic in Flint, Michigan, reports CBS News correspondent Seth Doane, where the uninsured don’t need to pay a penny for health care.

Doane asks truck driver Randy Ervin what his lack of medical insurance means for him today.

“That means if it wasn’t for places like this here, I’d be still home sick coughing my head off,” Ervin says.

For 51-year-old Dale Willis, it was bad enough to lose his job at an auto parts supplier.

Even worse, he is a diabetic.

“Scares me more losing medical insurance than losing a job,” Willis says.

Doane asks him why that is.

“Well, my age-our age-cost of prescriptions,” Willis says.

The clinic is staffed by more than 100 volunteer nurses and doctors like Dr. Samuel Dismond.

“What stories are you hearing here?” Doane asks.

“I’m hearing stories of a need for help,” Dr. Dismond says. “A need for more than help-a reassurance that somebody cares. Somebody is there for them-somebody is willing to help.”

To qualify for that help, a family of four must be earning less than $43,000. A single person, like Kimberlee, less than $21,000.

“Tell me, financially, how it’s been,” Doane says.

“Well, let’s put it this way, I dropped 30 pounds in three months because I couldn’t afford food,” Kimberlee says. “I had a choice-”

“Choosing food or medicine?” Doane asks.

“Yes,” Kimberlee says. “And do you pay the electric bill or do you buy food? So you pay the electric bill and then you go and buy whatever is cheapest, even if it’s not the best for you.”

It was her sister who thought the clinic might be the best chance to put Kimberlee’s life back on track.

“My sister knew I needed help, and she said she wasn’t going to leave me down there to die,” Kimberlee says.

“These people don’t make a lot of noise,” Dr. Dismond says. “It’s not like somebody picketing or demonstrating for health care. They just suffer in silence.”

At the clinic in Flint, their silence is answered not just with health care but with human care, too.

©MMVIII, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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