March 23, 2009

News Release

For Immediate Release

Health Urges Recognition of Inadequate Health Insurance

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department urges area residents to recognize the issues and consequences in a community when many people have no health insurance, and to support efforts to make positive community changes.

According to a 2008 Families USA report, Missouri residents without health insurance-

March 22-28th is “Cover the Uninsured Week,” a national effort led by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation since 2003 to highlight the fact that too many Americans are living without health insurance and to demand solutions from national leaders.

With Springfield being the fastest growing city in the state, the challenge of caring for the expanding uninsured population here is becoming more difficult, despite having high-class medical institutions and primary care clinics.

“Many people assume the uninsured are low-income individuals and families,” says health policy coordinator Carmen Bradshaw. “This is not the case. The uninsured in our community include the young, working individuals, immigrants and even high-level income workers. As the nation’s economy flounders, we expect the number of uninsured in our community to grow.”

Research shows the majority of uninsured are between the ages of 18 and 64. This is mostly due to the fact that Medicaid covers many young people, and Medicare covers senior adults 65 and older. According to the Missouri Foundation for Health, there were 729,000 uninsured Missourians in 2008, up from 668,000 in 2006. And, according to the US Census Bureau, in 2007, nearly 37,000 Greene County residents were uninsured.

“Through our partnership in the Springfield-Greene County Regional Health Commission, we are working to develop innovative solutions to the problem of uninsurance in Greene County,” says director of health Kevin Gipson. “We’re finding it to be a very complicated process, with many layers to work through, including behavior change, health care coverage and medical care capacity. It will require effort from everyone, including the general public, for change to take place.”

Gipson urges the public to support positive community changes, and to take personal responsibility to practice preventive care that will help them avoid unnecessary illness.

For more information, contact: Jaci McReynolds, Public Information Administrator, (417) 874-1205 office; (417) 830-9511 cell

springfield greene county health department
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Harold K. Bengsch Building

227 E. Chestnut Expwy. • Springfield, MO 65802
417-864-1658 •