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Uninsured population growing problem in the panhandle

Amarillo, TX - Texas remains the lead state with the most uninsured people and the panhandle has its share.

Some area hospitals we spoke with today say people coming to them without insurance is a growing problem they don't expect will change anytime soon.

Data by the U.S. Census Bureau shows Dallam, Sherman, Deaf Smith, Donley, Collingsworth, Castro, Bailey, Briscoe, Hall and Cottle as counties with the highest percentages of uninsured people, at more than 33-percent of the population.

The rest of the panhandle counties are between 15 to 32-percent of the population.

A Gallup poll done this year shows those statistics remain the same.

The Pampa Regional Medical Center tells us between them and other area hospitals, they are taking quite a hit.

"Mostly young adults and young adults with children that either are under-insured or have no insurance at all. They'll come into the emergency room and ask questions like how do we get on medicaid all of a sudden and they probably don't even qualify for medicaid. We have to take care of them," says Brad Morse, CEO, Pampa Regional Medical Center.

If the patient cannot pay the medical bill or does not qualify for medicaid, the hospital will often have to write off the costs.

Morse says it also causes those with insurance to pay more for it and some hospital costs to go up.

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