Hospital Health Care

POSTED: Thursday, September 3, 2009 - 7:15am

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 3:24pm

Jimmy Fay was just released from the University Medical Center of El Paso. He was rushed to the emergency room after suffering a seizure, but since he does not have health insurance, Jimmy says taking control of his epilepsy is not easy.

"As of right now the medication they have given me is one dosage. Other than that, I'm more less on my own without health care," he tells us.

And he's not alone.

"The numbers are huge. One-third of our community is uninsured. That's about 230-thousand people," says Margaret Althoff-Olivas, spokeswoman for the University Medical Center of El Paso.

Sometimes, it's the tax payer that ends up footing the bill for those who have no way of paying.

Althoff-Olivas says, "El Pasoans pay about $60-million a year to University Medical Center through their property taxes, to take care of the indigent."

She believes health care reform could alleviate some of those costs.

"El Pasoans are already paying for the cost to provide care to those amongst us who are less fortunate. If congress finds a way to fix this, perhaps the responsibility of the local taxpayer will lessen greatly," says Althoff-Olivas.

But more importantly she says, if more people like Jimmy have insurance, then they can afford to take better care of themselves, which could mean fewer visits to the emergency room, shorter wait times and a healthier community.

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