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Editorial: Darts and laurels

Dart to the steady increase in the number of N.C. residents who lack health insurance ó a troubling trend directly connected to the economic downturn.
It’s no surprise that the ranks of the uninsured are rising ó many of those who are losing jobs are also losing their health-insurance coverage. What is surprising, however, is how quickly the rate is jumping. Between 2007 and 2009, the number of N.C. uninsured rose by 322,000 ó or 3.1 percent ó according to findings from the N.C. Institute of Medicine and the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at UNC-Chapel Hill. Researchers also warned that even when the economy improves and the jobless rate declines, the number of uninsured will remain higher than it was before the economic storm hit.
These findings underscore the need for policymakers in North Carolina and Washington to reverse the trend and help make health care more affordable and accessible for lower-income residents and the unemployed.- – –
Laurels to the startup of Rowan Express, the new low-cost bus service running between Kannapolis and Salisbury, with links in Landis and China Grove. At just $1 per ride, with free transfers to the Salisbury Transit System, this provides a welcome increase in transportation options for those who can’t drive, don’t have personal vehicles ó or simply want to minimize their travel expenses. People with cars often take that convenience for granted. It’s a different world for those who have to rely on public transportation to get to work, to the doctor, to the grocery store or library. Rowan Express opens up new possibilities for its riders ó and at a very reasonable price .
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Dart to the drop in donations to Goodwill Industries, another trend directly related to the economy. As a story in Friday’s Post related, the decline in donations of used clothing and useable household items parallels what happened in the wake of local textile plant closings, but the dropoff is even more drastic this time around. Along with the decline in donations, Goodwill and other thrift stores are seeing an increase in the number of people who are looking for bargains. They’ve put out an appeal for people to check their closets for worn but serviceable clothing and accessories. Remember that donations are tax deductible. Even more important, your donations will support the Goodwill mission of helping the unemployed find jobs. Goodwill’s main retail store is at 836 W. Jake Alexander Boulevard in Salisbury. See Friday’s Post (page 4A) for a complete list of local Goodwill collection sites.

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