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Closing the Gap - Life or Death


​Whether it’s a nasty winter virus, chronic gastrointestinal distress from Crohn’s disease, or the occasional debilitating migraine, most of us understand what it feels like to be sick or to deal with pain. Unfortunately, not everyone knows what it’s like to get a prescription to fight a sinus infection or to ask for a second opinion on the cause of those headaches. That’s because a person’s ability to access health care depends upon a variety of factors, including income, geography, age, residency status, and insurance, among other things. A farmer on Colorado’s Eastern Plains, for example, may not be able to see a doctor about a persistent cough because there are no primary care physicians in his county. And a Denver-based freelance writer with a high deductible insurance plan will likely fight through a potentially dangerous fever instead of heading to the emergency room. In fact, of every five people you pass on the street in Colorado, at least three are in these types of medically vulnerable situations—scenarios that can turn easily treatable ailments into expensive, difficult-to-remedy maladies. Compounding the problem is the reality that many face not just one but multiple barriers to care. It’s in these intersections—where, say, age and geography or residency status and income level converge—that the largest obstacles to health care access exist. Fortunately, the Centennial State is full of hospitals, clinics, providers, businesses, and nonprofits working fervently to close these gaps in our medical system. Their solutions are saving lives.