WAUSAU - "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.
MERRILL - For 32 years Battalion Chief Mike Drury walked into the Merrill Fire Department ready to save lives. Friday he walked out of the department for the last time to start the new phase of his life. "It goes fast it goes really fast," said Drury. Drury was about 18 -years -old when he walked into the Merrill Fire Department for the first time. "When you're 18, 19,20 years old and you're looking at 50 something years old you think you're never going to get there," said Drury.
Drury is one of 184 firefighters to ever work full time with the city of Merrill. "As a firefighter they spend a lot of time at the fire house so they miss a lot of things," said Drury's daughter Cassi. After 32 years of missing birthdays, holidays and family time Drury was ready for a change. "I realized I had enough this is a young man's job," said Drury. Friday afternoon Drury said goodbye to a room of men who merged and became family. "Not having that is a little scary I know they'll always be our family but it's hard to leave," said Cassi. Cassi watched her dad rush off to help his community since the day she was born. "It's scary because you hear about the times things don't go right or the times fire fighters don't come home," said Cassi.
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander couple thought they were empty nesters. However, an experience volunteering made them open their doors back up to kids who need a temporary home. The Zoerb's adult children moved out years ago. But at any moment they could get a call from social services that make them bring out their parenting skills for another round. Rick and Danielle Zoerb work together as realtors putting people in homes that are the perfect fit. However, the husband and wife know their home can be a good fit for others too. "There's no reason for kids to have to fall through the cracks," said Dani. Rick met a child at a mentorship program a few years ago. It was a meeting that opened a new door for him and his wife. "There was no hesitation on our part when we felt the situation was deteriorating for this young boy," said Rick.
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