- Man shot by police ID'd; witness shares his side of story (2/17/17)31
- Settlement reached in accidental shooting case at Kelly High (2/15/17)10
- MSHP: McLendon shot in side; autopsy refutes witness account (2/19/17)23
- Jackson board votes to demolish high school building if bond issue passes (2/15/17)24
- Cape officer shoots man inside a home (2/16/17)7
- Business notebook: Owners ready to roll out the Barrel 131 (2/20/17)4
- Apparent punch at girls basketball game propels lawmaker into action (2/21/17)4
- Former Cape cop indicted on possessing child porn (2/17/17)
- Man dies after being shot by officer; said to have come at cop with knife (2/16/17)29
- Ray's of Kelso to close, then reopen under new ownership (2/16/17)6
Bridging the gap for the uninsured
To the editor:More than 719,000 Missourians have no health insurance. Most of these uninsured Missourians are working adults without employer-sponsored health plans who cannot afford health insurance in the marketplace.
Hospitals are acutely aware of the importance of health insurance. As the safety net for health care in times of illness and emergency, hospitals are often the primary -- and sometimes only -- source of medical care for the uninsured. But substituting emergency care for insurance coverage is costly and unsustainable.
Hospitals are doing their part to bridge the gaps in coverage. In 2005, the most recent year data are available, Missouri's hospitals provided nearly one-half billion dollars in uncompensated care to their communities.
In addition, since 1991 hospital provider taxes have contributed significantly to the state's Medicaid resources. These taxes have expanded access to care for many of Missouri's most vulnerable.
However, hospitals alone cannot solve the problem of the uninsured.
The cost of the uninsured is a problem for everyone. It challenges the human health of our neighbors and co-workers who don't have adequate coverage as well as the economic health of our businesses and communities. The choices and their consequences are real.
A recent study from the American Cancer Society underscores disparities between the insured and uninsured. According to the report, the uninsured were less likely to pursue recommended screenings, and when diagnosed their cancer is more likely to have spread. The study also found uninsured cancer patients are 1.6 times more likely to die within five years as those with private insurance.
STEVEN C. BJELICH, Chief Executive Officer, Saint Francis Healthcare System, Cape Girardeau