Michael Jordan Goes Back to His Roots to Fill a Deep-Seated Need in His Community
Billionaire basketball star fills a gap in access to health care.
When one father and his family returned from a trip to China, they found themselves having to pay $4,000 out of pocket in hospital costs related to Covid-19 quarantining measures. This was but one story that highlighted the huge gap in access to health care that exists today in the United States.
The debate over universal health care rages on across the country, and the recent Covid-19 pandemic brought those issues front and center once again.
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There is staggering inequality in access to health care here, with only those well below the poverty line being able to access Medicaid and only senior citizens above the retirement age being able to take advantage of Medicare.
The rest of the population relies on partial coverage by private insurance, which can be prohibitively expensive if not cost-shared with an employer. That leaves over 27 million Americans, or nearly one in ten, without health care insurance. It disproportionately affects poor and non-white communities.
Jordan Bridges the Gap
As studies have shown, those without insurance delay or avoid seeking medical care, especially in the country with the highest health care costs in the world. NBA champion Michael Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Hornets, saw the gap and stepped in to do what he could to help fill it.
With Jordan’s donation of $10 million, two clinics for low-income people without health insurance opened up in Wilmington, North Carolina. “Wilmington holds a special place in my heart and it’s truly gratifying to be able to give back to the community that supported me throughout my life,” Jordan said.
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But it wasn’t Jordan’s first time stepping in as a private citizen to help bridge the unequal access to health care especially apparent in this part of the country. Years earlier, he had donated $7 million to open two Novant health clinics in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The first order of business of those two clinics had been to address the disparity in Covid-19 testing and treatment. The first clinic provided 14,000 Covid-19 tests and has taken care of over 4,500 patients, hundreds of whom are children. Today, the clinic also provides access to social workers, vaccines, behavioral health care, treatment for chronic illnesses, and a wide variety of screening tests, to name just a few of the services. Low-income people can even access the services without an appointment or make an appointment online.
Access for Everyone
The clinics in rural North Carolina, near Wilmington, are also operated by Novant Health and are available to that large segment of the population that doesn’t have health insurance. Here, people have access to a complete range of health services, quality care, and doctors who will follow their health history. “Everyone should have access to quality health care, no matter where they live, or whether or not they have insurance,” said Jordan.
President and CEO of Novant Health Carl Armato said, “We are so appreciative of Michael’s unwavering commitment to help us bring affordable care to our communities that need it most. It’s not only an investment in us as a partner, but it’s an investment in each and every person that our clinics can reach.”
Whether it’s with a donation big or small, a donation of money, time or talents, giving back to one’s community is something we can all do to make the whole world a better place.