Health care experts say the link comes down to dollars and cents; those with more money tend to be healthier, but that doesn't have to be the case. Scott Groves has been uninsured for five years. He tried getting insurance assistance through the state, but was denied. Groves told WWAY, "I was told I needed some serious surgery in order to maintain employment. I was turned down flat." To get affordable health care, Groves now goes to New Hanover Community Health Center, which receives federal funding to provide care to those who are either uninsured or underinsured. "I'm not insured so they'll adjust my payments to my income." Groves is not alone. In the past five years, the number of uninsured patients coming into the center has tripled. Althea Johnson, the Community Health Center deputy director said, "That number continues to grow we've already exceeded 6 thousand patients that don't have any insurance." Johnson says tight budgets cause people to put off going to the doctor for preventative care. "They seem to only go to the doctor when they're sick, and by that time they're very sick." She believes that would change with different health care policies. “North Carolina does not provide right now through Medicaid or any other type of insurance for people who are single with no children they can't afford any health care if they're not getting it through their employer." But insured or not, Johnson believes making healthy choices, like choosing not to smoke, can go a long way in living a healthy a life. Johnson said it will be hard to change people's lifestyle, but just talking about the importance of preventative care will help. If you need care and are under or un-insured, you can visit the New Hanover Community Health Center in downtown Wilmington.
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