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Business, Government, Health & Wellness

Area Health Access

As early as June '08, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department not only recognized, quantified, and evaluated Greene County health-care deficits, but pulled together a consortium of providers to address some very pressing issues.

The director of the health department estimated at that time that about 37,000 people in Greene County had no health insurance.  Another 74,000 were estimated to be underinsured (defined as having to pay more than 10% out of pocket for health care).  These numbers accounted for 43.57% of the total population, a figure that can only become more bleak since national health care spending has increased at an annual average rate of 10% since the Sixties.  Without some sort of remediation, it seems inevitable that more than half the population of Greene County will become uninsured or underinsured in the foreseeable future.

The problem doesn't stop there.  Of that part of the Greene County population that had some degree or form of health insurance, 33% had some type of public insurance.  With an aging population and both large and small employers cutting back or eliminating health coverage, it remains to be seen how that number will hold up.

Fast forward to 2009.  The number of uninsured people in Greene County is now estimated at 40,000, an 8.1% annual increase.  The Kitchen Clinic, a typical safety-net clinic operating at capacity, turned away 230 people in June.  Data released in late September by the Census Bureau show 11.3% of children in Missouri's 7th Congressional District to be uninsured.  The percentage of uninsured adults (ages 18-64) in the 7th district is 22.8; that's nearly 100,000 people.

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