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Health care in Arkansas

Hundreds of pills from the Harmony Health Clinic go to Pulaski County people who can't afford to get them from a doctor. That's because they don't have insurance.

LITTLE ROCK, AR -- Hundreds of pills from the Harmony Health Clinic go to Pulaski County people who can't afford to get them from a doctor.

That's because they don't have insurance.

"We have a lot of people working. We have some unemployed. Our goal is to keep them healthy to help them get back into the job market and the ones who have jobs to keep them from missing days at work," said Eddie Pannell, the clinic's executive director.

They also go to Harmony to get free medical and dental care.

"Our patient level goes up every day. We have some people coming through the door sometimes twenty times a day seeking medical care," said Pannell.|

With more than 500,000 uninsured Arkansans, state health professionals say many wait until the last minute to get medical attention. Usually that's in the emergency room.

"We need to get to the point where we're focused on preventing the disease. Not because it's cheaper but Arkansans and Americans need the quality of life," said Paul Halverson, director of the Arkansas Department of Health.

The professionals hope the federal health care law can help reach everyone.

"We've got to find ways to be the most efficient, most effective delivering care when and where people need it," said Joe Thompson, the state's surgeon general.

Pannell said many neglect the need for affordable dental care, which is not covered by the federal health care law. It's a fear the law will not go into full effect if President Obama fails to win reelected.

"It wouldn't make me mad if the health care legislation put this clinic out of business and I had to go out and look for another job because so many more people would be served," said Pannell.

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