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Health Care Crisis is Devastating More Families

Within my circle of family and friends, I’m shocked at how many are ill and have been hospitalized recently. It feels like this strange windfall of crazy occurrences and out-of-the-ordinary circumstances. I can’t help but wonder if it’s the times we live in: are people sicker and stress is compromising our health more or is stress weakening our immune system therefore causing us to be sicker? Does worry make us sick or are we sick which gives us another thing to worry about and makes us weaker to handle situations?

In The Merced Sun Star, reporters Jocelyn Weiner, CHCF Center for Health Reporting and Ken Carlson also noticed that with the hardship of the economy, many families are being hit with serious medical conditions. “A health care crisis is sweeping the Central Valley, devastating middle-class and poor families and threatening to overwhelm the region’s fragile safety net.

“The deep recession has pushed the ranks of the uninsured here to unprecedented levels. At the same time, a dire state budget deficit has forced lawmakers to drastically scale back or eliminate key health care programs for the state’s poorest residents.”

Weiner and Carlson explain that across class lines, patients are struggling to get the medical attention they need. “Doctors and nurses at county and nonprofit clinics say they’re seeing mounting numbers of out-of-work professionals and laid-off blue-collar workers joining the chronically poor and undocumented in waiting rooms throughout the region… In the past few years, growing numbers of unemployed workers have added 700,000 to the ranks of the state’s uninsured, bringing the total to 7.1 million.”

“When people become uninsured, not only do they live sicker, they die younger, they’re one emergency away from financial ruin and there are very few options available,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, which advocates for affordable health care for all Californians. “It’s a tattered safety net that has gotten worse because of the budget crisis.”

How will this affect those who are medical assistanting, pharmacy technicians or Vocational Nursing? There is definitely a shortage of those in the health careers industry so there is more stability than in other professions. With the federal health care bill, ideally more government money will be designated to the uninsured, but with cutbacks and having taxpayers maxed out, we’ll just have to wait and see. If the government does pass this bill, more medical staff will be needed to treat the new individuals who were previously uninsured.