PORTLAND, Ore. -- About two dozen protesters circled and chanted outside the Hawthorne ZOOM+Care clinic in Southeast Portland on Monday.
Protesters said the clinics refused to treat people with Medicare or Medicaid insurance.
“We don’t want this so extreme for profit model. We don’t want it to grow. We don’t want it to get any bigger. We don’t want it to become the norm,” said Andrea Lemoins.
Many people walking past were confused.
“They are a private company so they have a right not to accept certain types of health insurance,” said Stephan Aya, a happy ZOOM+ customer.
“They diagnosed me with mononucleosis and a previous health care professional diagnosed me some, horrible, horrible life debilitating disease. So I'm grateful to them,” she said.
Not everyone feels that way. One protester said she had a bad experience when a ZOOM+Care clinic gave her the wrong paperwork.
But the bigger issue is Medicare and Medicaid. The clinics will not accept that insurance, or the patients.
ZOOM+ started 10 years ago. It has 26 clinics in the greater Portland area and another 7 in Seattle. ZOOM+ allows patients to make same day appointments and the prices are posted on the wall.
CEO and co-founder Dave Sanders says ZOOM+ is not for everyone.
“I do think the idea of all things for all people is really old fashioned. Just like for your food, home, auto, every aspect of your life, there are things that really are best designed for you. This is really best designed today for sort of the underserved millennial middle right? That's who its really targeted for, that's how it operates beautifully,” he said.
Sanders listed several reasons for not accepting Medicare and Medicaid. ZOOM+ requires patients to have credit cards and use digital tools afterwards. Medicare does not allow that. Medicare also pays less.
Not everyone is happy with ZOOM+, but on the sidewalk we found more pleased than not, including Cassie Bishop, who was visiting from Texas and needed to take her daughter to the clinic.
“They were very nice. They had medicine on site. I think it was great. Actually I wish they had these back in Texas,” she said.