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Less Than A Helping Hand?

December 7, 2012, 6:18 PM by Kellee Azar

Less Than A Helping Hand?

Going to the doctor is something many of us take for granted, whether or not we have health insurance. But these days, getting help paying the bill for that doctor visit can be a difficult task for some families.

Medicaid is sometimes the answer, but some now worry that the Governor's budget for fiscal year 2014 could make that assistance even harder to come by.

Having a sick child is a stressful time for any parent. Even something as simple as a cold can be cause for concern which is why Janeane Jal wants to make sure it’s nothing more for her youngest son, Jacob.

"We wanted to come in and see how severe it was. If it was something he could get over on his own or something he would need a little help with," Jal said.

Jal admits visits to the doctor are more common now that she has kids. Unfortunately, it's a luxury not all families can afford which is why Jal says some type of coverage is a must.

"Being able to go and have really good healthcare is really important. And because when the kids are young, they can't tell you the symptoms, it prevents little problems from becoming bigger," Jal said.

Since Governor Dennis Daugaard announced earlier this week that the South Dakota wouldn't be expanding Medicaid coverage, Jal worries more families in need could be left making some tough choices.

"It would be really hard if you had a sick child at home, you would feel really hopeless you want them to be better and healthy" Jal said.

For doctors like Brian Kidman taking Medicaid patients at Destiny Clinic is not something he does for the money.

"A physician that is accepting Medicaid knows they are doing so because they care for the poor, not because they are making any money. But because it's doesn't make money to care for Medicaid patients," Kidman said.

And for patients not having money for health care, he says, the result can often end up costing more in the long run.

"A lot of care in emergency rooms is for those uninsured for issues that very often could and should be cared for in a clinic setting," Kidman said.

Politics aside, both agree that the most important goal must be getting and giving care when it's needed most.

"Because they need help, simply put they need help," Kidman said.

"It’s very important whether you have insurance or Medicaid it doesn't matter you want your kids to have the best care right away to prevent bigger problems from coming up," Jal said.

At Destiny Medical Clinic alone nearly one third of all of the patients receive Medicaid assistance. And while he takes a loss on Medicaid patients, Kidman says he depends on also seeing enough insured patients to make up for that loss.

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