Providing care

Finding affordable health care is tough when people with limited or no financial resources can't locate a dentist who accepts Medicaid payments or need to fill a prescription but don't have the insurance coverage or the cash to pay for it.

There doesn't seem to be any end to the rising health-care costs Americans see today. It seems that everyone, regardless of age or economic status, is affected by skyrocketing prices in prescription drugs and health-insurance policies. But families without the financial resources and insurance coverage to absorb the extra costs are feeling the greatest strain.

In Cape Girardeau County and Scott City, 62 percent of the population is uninsured or on Medicare or Medicaid. Accessible health care was ranked as the second most crucial issue the area faces in a 2001 community assessment partnership between the United Way of Southeast Missouri and the Community Caring Council.

Some government-funded clinics, like Cross Trails Medical Clinic and the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Clinic, treat patients on Medicare and Medicaid. Programs are available to help some people get necessary prescription drugs.

Now is the time to start solving the community's health-care problems before conditions worsen. Simply recognizing the problem exists won't fix it. Now that the community assessments have exposed the problem, a plan of action is needed that not only educates area residents, but also offers them a means of accessing the health care they need.