Health centers mark cover the uninsured week
(30 April 2005: VIDYYA MEDICAL NEWS SERVICE) -- Community, Migrant and Homeless Health Centers are joining the groundswell of support for Cover The Uninsured Week (May 1-8), a national campaign organized to galvanize public awareness about the need for affordable and reliable health care coverage. Health center recognition of Cover The Uninsured Week comes as more and more uninsured people look to America’s health centers for care, and independent studies conclude that uninsured people who live near a health center are less likely to have an unmet medical need.
A case in point is Jessica Rivera, 20, a full time college student living in a Chicago, Illinois suburb. Rivera has asthma, but no health insurance. Minor sinus infections and allergies can trigger her illness, but she often delayed seeing a doctor because she was worried about the cost. Now that has changed since she started getting regular care at Access Servicios Medicos La Villita, a health center that is part of ACCESS Community Health Network. At the health center, she sees a specialist and receives regular health care. "Being able to get care at Access Servicios Medicos La Villita has made a big difference in my health," she says. The ACCESS network consists of 44 health centers in the Chicago area that provide cost-effective preventive health care to 175,000 patients a year, one-third of whom are uninsured.
“We see the faces of the uninsured every day and know their stories,” said Dan Hawkins, Vice President for Federal, State, and Public Affairs at the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). “They are our hardworking neighbors and friends whose jobs do not provide them insurance or who cannot afford private coverage. We are proud of our role in keeping the uninsured healthy and out of hospital emergency rooms by providing affordable and accessible health care. The tragedy is that for every uninsured patient we help there are 10 other people who are sick and need life-saving specialty and inpatient care, or prescribed drugs and diagnostic tests, and don’t have the insurance to cover it. That is why we are joining forces with other organizations to call for a solution to this health care crisis-- because health centers alone cannot solve the problems of the uninsured.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 45 million Americans have no health insurance, including more than 8 million children. The Bush Administration has cited the expansion of health centers as one way to mitigate the national problem. The expansion initiative will fund 1,200 new and expanded health center sites to serve an additional 6.1 million people by next year. The President has requested an increase of $304 million for health centers in his FY 2006 budget request to complete the initiative and expand health center access to 2 million more people. He has also pledged to "put a health center in every poor county in America."
Return to Vidyya Medical News Service for 30 April 2005