Clinic looks for community support
Mar 20, 2012 | 1212 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In recent weeks, there’s been an outpouring of support for animals around the county. Some of it is in favor of a merger between tax dollars and nonprofit dollars. Others, for a more controlled investment of county dollars.

Both sides share similar interests. They’re concerned about stretching dollars and helping animals. And both sides have been vocal about their concerns.

In recent weeks, we’ve also seen hundreds turn out to show their support or voice disapproval of county-wide alcohol sales. From avid drinkers to alcoholics, resort owners to pastors— everyone seems to have an opinion on the best direction.

Hopefully, Wednesday night, as many people will have an opinion to voice. Wednesday night will be the first of three meetings to discuss a community clinic for the working poor. The meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the courthouse.

Granted, this isn’t as divisive of an issue. People with health concerns on top of struggling to making ends meet aren’t as cuddly as puppies. They don’t generate as much income as alcohol sales (or the lack there of).

But they’re a part of our community. They are our neighbors and family. In some cases, they’re our employees.

For clarifications sake, these aren’t people who don’t contribute to the economy. In most cases, they’re parents working low-wage jobs— sometimes multiple jobs— but unable to make ends meet.

The problem many encounter are the redundant trappings of a low income. They can’t afford medical care, so they don’t seek it. Eventually, unchecked problems worsen and they are forced to get help. Sometimes, it even accelerates to such a debilitating degree that they become wards of the state.

Or, maybe they just don’t care about the cost and seek care they know they can’t pay.

In either situation, either short-term or long-term, the costs are passed on to the community around them.

When health care providers are forced to write off bad debt, it gets passed along. The loss results in higher costs for office visits, hospital stays and other forms of care. That creates higher costs for those paying their bills out-of-pocket and for insurance providers.

Insurance providers, in turn, increase rates so they aren’t running at a loss.

The community clinic being proposed would look to end that cycle for many. It would provide at least part of the medical care many in our community need. For free. All it takes is support. Given the turnouts seen in recent weeks for alcohol and animals, it will be interesting to see the turnout Wednesday night.
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