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Homeless would benefit from health care reform

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Among the millions of Americans who would benefit from health care reform proposals before Congress are an unknown number of homeless.

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.

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

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

© 2009 Associated Press. Displayed by permission. All rights reserved

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