Did you know that Columbia County ranks in the top 10 in Georgia for the percentage of residents with health insurance?
Given the relatively high income of our community, it’s probably not a surprise that around 85 percent of the county’s residents are insured, according to a recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau.
But that also means those without health insurance can have a tougher time getting health care here because, unlike counties with a large network of government agencies and charitable programs, there are fewer places to turn for help.
Linda Graves voices some of that frustration in today’s story about how Columbia County’s Health Department helps patients suspected of having breast cancer. There’s a gap between suspicion and treatment that can leave uninsured patients in limbo.
As the Health Department nurse manager, Graves sees those cases come through her agency, where they have to navigate through a complicated system to get diagnosis for such patients after a lump is found, for example. Even more difficult, she tells Steven Uhles, is that programs set up to provide the proper diagnosis typically run out of money each year long before the agency runs out of patients.
It doesn’t make sense that our health care system, among the best in the world, would have such gaps. But that’s a good argument for encouraging more people to obtain health insurance so they aren’t forced to rely on the sort of patchwork that Graves and her agency have to create. It might also save their lives.
Columbia County residents already are setting a good example for responsibility. Increasing the number of insured residents should be the next goal.