June 13th, 2009
12:12 PM ET
13 years ago

King: Falling between health care cracks in Orlando

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/12/sotu.orlando.health.care/art.king1.cnn.jpg
caption="Dr. Jenni Keehbauch is the medical director at a free clinic for the uninsured."]

ORLANDO, Florida (CNN) - Mary Yates has high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a nagging, sore hip. And no health insurance.

"You know, I am the person that has fallen through the cracks here after working all these years," is how she puts it. "I thought I was saving towards retirement. I have used that."

She sold most of her jewelry, too, after losing her job as a legal secretary, and then her home two years ago. She moved from Memphis, Tennessee, to the Orlando area because she has a daughter who lives here and believed it would be easier to find work.

"Not realizing what was happening with the economy," Yates says. "And a year later, here I am without a job."

Without a job and now among the more than 40 million Americans who lack health insurance.

We met Yates at the "After Hours Clinic" - a free clinic for the uninsured that borrows space from the employees' clinic at Florida Hospital in Orlando. Dr. Jenni Keehbauch is the medical director at the clinic, which is open three days a week. She says Yates' story is all too common these days.

"We have a finite number of visits that we can see in an evening," Keehbauch told us in an interview as the clinic prepared for its evening rush this week. "What we've found is that we're turning more patients away, unfortunately.

"We're seeing patients that saw us in the early 2000s, left us, got insurance, and then now they are coming back saying, 'Hey we're glad you are here - I just got laid off.' We're seeing a lot of that recently."

Full story

Filed under: Health care
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. I laugh at Limbaugh daily.

    Most of Floridas problems are with mental health and lack of education,just like most red states.Why do you think so many there are republicans living there?

    June 13, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    Those that hate the idea of changing and fear the fact that they MIGHT end up this way are the ones fighting it the most.

    June 13, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  3. Dawn in Pa

    People are desperate all over, whether you are healthy or you are sick. You need a doctor, a doctor who just does not act like you are cattle and they are shoved through.

    Mrs, Yates's story is very familier throughout the United States. I may have health insurance, but my neigbor does not.

    No matter what, health care is on the rise and people owe the health care givers millions of dollars. someone who has an operation, oh have high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. All these life threatening diseases can be controlled through medication and diet.

    My husband's insurance covers medication for type 2 diabetes, but not type 1, it will be insulin, not the pills, because my husband is a truck driver and they by Federal law cannot be on insulin.

    June 13, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. LacrosseMom

    ****** 62% of Americans declare bankruptcy because of the high cost of healthcare!*******

    In the wealthiest nation on Earth, healthcare should be a right nor a privilege!

    June 13, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  5. mstorey20

    We need to move away from employer provided health care. The tax code currently forces this and the US market has changed in the 50 years since WWII. People no longer stay at one job. That is why/how this happens so frequently today. This sets up the pre-existing conditions issue that follows and so many other issues.

    We need a basic universal coverage option parred with equal tax code for employees vs. employers with private insurance to fill anything and everything beyond true "basic" health care. Affordable (for the US debt), accessible, basic care coverage is the best we can do. We simply loose the former two if we change the last option to something that includes bells and whistles. Please don't take "basic" as meaning massive cuts from the current standard of Medicare, rather establishing the current (or very near) as "basic" and not allowing it to ballon from this point forward.

    June 13, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  6. Pat F

    Sorry, but this is a complete crock. Our parents, who had one wage earner in the house and multiple kids, used to either be uninsured, or just have catastrophic coverage. When they went to the doctor or the dentist, they put their hand in your OWN pocket. You didn't have a big expensive car ( or two, or three), and a big expensive house, plus a vacation cottage, a boat, lots of jewelry and the latest "it" purse. You had ONE car that you made sure lasted you at least seven years, and a very modest house.

    The reason the economy is in free fall, and manufacturing has left this country for good is that everyone thinks he is entitled to live like the rich folks on TV, but pay for nothing out of pocket. Sorry, people, the world doesn't work like that. Working class people live like the working class – end of story.

    June 13, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  7. katiec

    If anyone thinks the insurance companies, drug companies, medical association and hospitals are going to change anything on their own without intervention they have their head in the sand.
    They have had complete control over our health care system and look what it has done to the American people. Millions without healthcare, thousands upon thousands having to declare bankruptcy due to medical costs, and increasing denials on covering even a portion of what is supposed to be covered. They have had a free rein and have not been held accountable. Our United States of America ranks very low in the quality of health care compared to other countries.
    For those of you who can afford the premiums, good for you, but for the multitude that cannot, we need help. If not from our government, then where?

    June 13, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  8. Mike D.

    Just why is it that CNN does not respect their Readers? They open up these postings, which are widely popular, THEN they close them before anybody gets home and has an opportunity to post their comments

    June 13, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  9. Ted

    It is unconscionable that any American citizen, a citizen of the largest economy and military superpower, does not have at least a minimal health insurance policy. Think of what the money spent on the stupid Iraq war, which has not benefitted any American, could do for those less fortunate Americans that need a healthcare bridge to their next job. Blame the Republicans.

    June 13, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  10. AJ

    Orlando, the home of the religious wack-jobs, why do they need health care? Cant they just depend on Jesus to heal them?

    June 13, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  11. Sari

    I lived in Orlando once, and let me tell you- it's hard to get health care there regardless of whether you have insurance. It's sounds like a stereotype, but there really are a lot of elderly in Orlando- many of whom require extensive elder care that sucks up all of the available family practitioners. While my young son and I were okay due to specialists (pediatrician and women's health care, respectively), many of the young men we knew who weren't afraid to go to the doc ended up toughing it out because it was so hard to get one.

    June 13, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  12. Denna

    We desperately need a national health care program to supplement the private insurance plans. No one should have to go sick because they can't afford a doctor. This is America. I say that if congress and the senate can have government health care, paid for by the American people, why can't we have the same kind of insurance. Senator Kennedy got excellent care for his brain tumor. Why can't we Americans get the same kind of care? We have to do something and we have to do it now. A country like this should not be having these problems.

    June 13, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  13. Mark

    This is a major problem that is only getting worse. Extend Medicare to everyone who wants it and lets get this economy fixed.

    June 13, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |