When you sit around wondering how the federal government’s political rhetoric and eventual decisions impact places like Sampson, consider CommWell Health and the myriad services it provides to some of our neediest citizens.
Thanks to the bipartisan budget deal struck last Friday, health services provided by CommWell won’t be delivered the devastating blow officials there had feared it might if an impasse had occurred and the funding flow, stopped in October, had continued.
But the budget deal struck on Friday breathed new life into health services offered by CommWell and others, ensuring two more years of funding and preventing the closure of thousands of health care sites that saw to the needs of 27 million patients, including hundreds, if not thousands, here in Sampson.
Within the passed budget will be $600 million to support health care centers such as CommWell, funding that will ensure that residents who depend on the center in Sampson continue to receive medical, dental, behavioral and pharmaceutical assistance.
It also ensures that students in local school systems will have an opportunity at affordable dental care, thanks to the mobile dental clinic that will continue to make on-site visits.
All of those services, used by countless numbers right here in Sampson who aren’t insured or are under-insured, were under threat of extinction had the funding been slashed as once expected.
While there are parts of the budget package that cause pause, particularly the tremendous debt it will bring to our county, when one looks at the growing needs around us, it’s hard to imagine what would have happened had programs like those offered at CommWell been whittled down to the bare bones offerings.
Those who don’t use CommWell may not see the immediate benefits this funding can bring, but consider this: CommWell serves some 24,500 people in six counties, including Sampson. Of those, 60 percent don’t have insurance.
Without quality care, many of our friends, neighbors, perhaps even family members would have suffered unduly, all because they, perhaps, aren’t fortunate enough to have the incomes we have, the benefits our employers provide or the good health many of us are blessed to have.
While there are arguments that can be made about those who don’t work, live off the government and always want something for nothing, there are just as many arguments for the countless numbers of individuals who are doing the very best they can yet still need the kind of services that CommWell can provide.
Agree or disagree with the budget deal struck by Congress last week, we would be hard-pressed not to be thankful that money is available for healthcare services we know so many could not afford any other way.