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Our View: An ounce of prevention




Benjamin Franklin was right, of course: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 


On June 6, the Mississippi Kidney Foundation will conduct free kidney screenings at the outpatient facility at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle. The screening will be held from 9 a.m. until noon and we encourage residents to heed the advice of Benjamin Franklin. 


This is particularly true for the uninsured of our community. Because there are a limited supply of screenings available, anyone who wants to participate is urged to call and make a reservation at (601) 981-3611 or toll-free at (800) 232-1592. 


We applaud the efforts of the Mississippi Kidney Association and other health organizations who offer these free preventive care programs to those who might otherwise have no opportunity to prevent or arrest an illness before it reaches a critical state. 


In Mississippi, there are a substantial number of people who fall into that category. According to U.S. Census figures, roughly half-million Mississippians do not have any form of health insurance. This gap might have been alleviated with the recent passage of the Affordable Care Act, which expands Medicaid coverage to the working poor, but our state leaders have to date refused to expand the program. 


Gov. Phil Bryant, who famously objected to the idea that Mississippians have insufficient access to healthcare by suggesting that those without health insurance can always go to the emergency room, seems to put little stock in Franklin's observation. Emergency room care is not only the most costly form of health care -- costs that ultimately all of us share -- it typically does not offer the preventive care that can often make the difference between life and death. 


For all of the acrimony over the Affordable Care Act, one fact that cannot be disputed is that preventive care is the best bargain in medicine. 


Even so, all those who do not avail themselves of preventive care opportunities do not fall into the category of the uninsured. 


Many health plans offer programs for preventive care, yet often those covered by these plans choose to ignore these opportunities. We urge everyone to inquire into the preventive care options offered by their health insurance providers. 


No matter the cost, it's a bargain. 


After all, A pound of cure can be awfully expensive these days.



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