Local News

Universal Health Insurance Proposed For Moore County

Posted October 7, 2004

— Living without health insurance is a huge gamble. Just one car wreck, backyard accident or unexpected illness can wipe out an entire bank account. Now, the head of one area health system wants to make sure everyone in his county is covered.

Charles Frock, the president of FirstHealth of the Carolinas, admits the idea of universal health insurance in Moore County is a bold idea.

"We envision a day when everyone who lives and works in Moore County has adequate health insurance," Frock said.

Frock says there are federal and private funds to help people pay for health insurance. But, the bulk of his proposal deals with small businesses.

Tom Konold, who owns Moore Uniforms, is like most small businesses in the county that don't offer health insurance to employees. Konold says he can't afford it, so his workers get insurance elsewhere if they can.

"(It's) too much of a risk not to have insurance, just if something should happen and you end up in the hospital or whatever. You need to be insured," Konold said.

Frock says his plan would make insurance affordable. In turn, businesses would buy it, and the more businesses buying it, the more affordable the insurance.

"It's kind of an all-or-nothing deal," Frock said. "The only way this works is if a very, very high percentage of the business community says, 'This makes sense, I'm willing to do it.'"

Moore County Chamber of Commerce President Elyse Cochran said businesses are willing. She said owners often tell her the same thing.

For Frock and First Health this could be a first not just in Moore County, but nationwide. As far as Frock knows, no other county in the country has achieved this goal. Frock says the program could be in place as early as next year.

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