Turn on any national news cast and you will inevitably begin hearing a lot of talk about the massive need for health care reform in our country. Most estimates put the number of people without health insurance at around 46 million people -- and at about 30 million if you remove people who are here illegally from that number. Even at 30 million, that is roughly 10% of the US population that is living without health care. Many of these people are poor, jobless, and mostly people of color.
While so much of the talk has been about how government will fix this problem, I want to talk a bit about how PEOPLE are working to fix the problem in Kansas City.
Today, October 1st, a new health clinic called the Hope Family Care Center opened up in a strip mall at 31st and Prospect. The center is a collaborative effort by the Hope Center and College Park Family Care Center in Overland Park.
The Hope Center is a 10 year old organization that has been working in the neighborhood around Linwood and Prospect that is designed as a religious-based leadership program for inner-city youth after school. The program seeks to develop young Christian Leaders in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Kansas City. The program includes things like Bible Study, Character development and help with homework.
The leaders of The Hope Center also saw a need in the community for medical care. There are no doctors that operate in the neighborhood -- which means that many of the folks have to take buses to various hospitals in order to get even the most basic of care.
In partnership with doctors at the College Park Family Care Center, they were able to deck out a new doctors office in the neighborhood, with doctors volunteering their time to come in and provide medical services for folks in the neighborhood that are badly lacking the most basic of health care needs - including preventative care which is almost non-existent in the neighborhood.
The Center is going to be open 5 days a week -- Tuesday - Saturday, 8:30am to 12:30 pm. The clinic will accept all forms of insurance and will charge a nominal fee for those who are uninsured.
While the talk about health care reform on the national stage -- I cannot help but think that the long-term solution is not about government intervention, but about individuals who want to make a difference in their own cities that will have the biggest impact on the people who need health care. And we, as people, can help groups like these that are making a difference in our urban core through financial and volunteer time contributions. Sometimes it's not about government making changes -- it's about people who decide that it is time for them to make changes.
Hats off to both of these organizations -- and for the people who donate their time and money to actually make a positive difference in this community. I hope others will join them.
Here's more on the story from Fox 4.