Health care in need of change in suburban communities

Poverty is usually thought of as an inner city problem, but that's changing throughout the U.S., especially in the Houston area. 

More low-income families are moving to suburban neighborhoods and the growth makes tackling 'big city' issues like health care tricky. Sally MacDonald takes a look at what's being done about it with our partners from Community Impact Newspaper, the Spring Klein edition.

Parts of the inner loop have changed dramatically. With gentrification, the working poor have moved out in search of cheaper housing. Several suburbs, including parts of Spring, show more than 20% of people are living in pockets of poverty.

"It goes out the I 10 corridor, all the way to Katy, out 290 and up 45," said Ken Janda, CEO of Community Health Choice.

Janda says more and more people in the suburbs are having trouble affording health care.

"We've kind of gone over the cliff, but we haven't hit the bottom yet so people haven't seen the big splat yet and what's going to happen," said Janda.

Community Health Choice offers managed care plans to Medicaid recipients and other low income families.

"There's about 250,000 to 300,000 uninsured in Houston right now that would be eligible for Medicaid expansion if Texas decides to do that. Texas is one of the states that could under the Affordable Care Act but has opted not to do that," said Janda.

Janda is focused on building more community health centers in places with a growing low income population.

"If we don't build capacity for people to go to clinics they show up in the ER, and it's uncompensated care and very expensive. Our infrastructure of our hospitals in Houston is really starting to melt down."

He hopes by raising the alarm here it will get the attention it needs in Austin.

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