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We shouldn't abandon the uninsured

Posted: October 2, 2012 - 11:02pm

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.

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Comments (4)

Local Interests

Among Best In The World?

The editorial does a reasonable community service by highlighting the fact that there are many uninsured residents in a county that is often described as affluent.

However, the writer falls into a common trap of confusing our countries' health knowledge and technology with the ability to use those assets to benefit its citizens. I am aware of NO study that ranks America's health care system among the best in the world. In fact, quite the opposite.

While a quick Google search will quickly provide scores of references, this graphic shows how poorly we spend health care dollars:


the criteria for the "world survey" may be skewed?

What is the rating base? Logically the country where the world's population seeks serious medical care would be a true indicator. Other that sex change and experimental cancer treatment, most of the world comes to the USA. Most of the world's doctors want to be trained in the USA.

Cradle to gave European socialist societies rank #1 correct? Societies who depend on USA taxpayers to defend them in time of war. Societies that depend on USA taxpayers to provide constant financial and basic needs revenue. Most people covered and most people paying zero for coverage. Yep that the criteria.

We would rather be ill in the USA. Two days to get a colonoscopy. Two days to get a radiological exam. Two hours notice to see primary care physician. Medicare Health, Vision, Drug and Dental for $100 a month.

But this could all change in an "Obama moment". We are sure he is looking to bring us in line with Europe's great society.

Local Interests

You Fell Into The Same Trap

soapy_725 is confusing medical knowledge and technology with healthcare.

I'm happy for you if you get all those services for $100/month. You must be either a congressman, retired military (both of which have taxpayer subsidized healthcare) or in a strong union.

Very few regular U.S. citizens have that kind of healthcare at those prices - including those with full-time jobs and pay taxes.

The criteria used for most measures are things like average life span, infant mortality, infectious diseases, etc., as well as average $ spent (both government and private citizen) for healthcare. In these categories the U.S. spends more than anybody else and is not even in the top 10 among industrialized nations in the other meaningful "life" measurements.

Blame it all on "Obamacare" all you want, but these stats have been true for many years and at least he is working on doing something about it.


I'd provide free clinics for

I'd provide free clinics for basic and emergency medical care. If specialty care is needed, it would be up to the person to find physicians who would work pro bono or charitable organizations and institutions.