(CNSNews.com) – Last year, the Obama administration went all the way to the Supreme Court to fend off challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act--AKA Obamacare--that argued that the federal government had no constitutional authority to order Americans to buy health insurance.
Thanks to Chief Justice John Roberts, the administration won a landmark 5-4 victory, establishing the power of the federal government to force individuals to purchase products so long as that mandate is enforced through a "tax."
Now Healthcare.gov, the government-run website where people can buy Obamacare-mandated health insurance plans through government-run exchanges, informs people that they actually do not need to buy a legally-mandated health insurance plans to get health care for free.
A tab on the website entitled “Finding Health Care You Can Afford," tells visitors: “There may be local facilities that provide free or reduced-cost care, whether you're insured or not. What you pay depends on your income.”
If you click on the “Learn More” tab, it brings you to a page that provides further details on how you can secure free and reduced-cost health care without buying on of the Obamacare-mandated plans.
“If you need health care, finding a provider you can afford can be a problem,” the text states. “Fortunately, there are places you can go for a wide variety of health needs that will provide free or reduced-cost care.
“They include some hospitals, and health centers and clinics,” the text states.
The page goes on to list some of those free or reduced-cost services.
“These places provide prenatal care, baby shots, prescription drugs, general primary care, and specialized care for more serious conditions including mental health, substance abuse, and HIV/AIDS,” the text states. “Anyone may use a community health center, whether you have health insurance or not. How much you pay will depend on your income.”
That “option” then directs visitors to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services--the federal agency in charge of Obamacare--and its Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) website.
On the HRSA website, visitors can find out about free and reduced-cost medical services at a variety of medical facilities, including scores of hospitals, clinics and other health facilities that provide these services in exchange for federal funding they have received.
According to the HRSA website, in 1946 Congress passed a law that gave hospitals, nursing homes and other health facilities grants and loans for construction and modernization. In return, they agreed to provide a reasonable volume of services to persons unable to pay and to make their services available to all persons residing in the facility’s area.
The program ended in 1997, but about 170 health care facilities nationwide are still obligated to provide free or reduced-cost care.
Since 1980, more than $6 billion in uncompensated services have been provided to eligible patients through the Hill-Burton program, according to the website.
The website also features a “find a health center” function that allows visitors to put in the zip code to locate the nearest facilities that provide free or reduced-cost medical services.
People must be eligible for these services based on the HHS Poverty Guidelines, according to the HRSA website.