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Patchwork Nation: Health Care System Buckles as Tourism Slows in Ore.

BY Dante Chinni and Anna Shoup  December 11, 2009 at 6:00 PM EDT

Lincoln City is a Service Worker Center in Patchwork Nation, with an economy that is heavily reliant on the tourism industry. That means a lot of jobs in hotels and restaurants and that means a couple things for the people here: Lower than average median household income and also jobs without health insurance.

“November, December, January, February, leave some people with maybe one day a week employment, some with none, some with four six hours days instead of eight hour days,” says Colleen Hickey, the case manager at the Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital. “So if they have a minimum, if they even had insurance to begin with, if they have to work say 20 hours or 32 hours to keep their insurance, they then lose it.”

The county-run Lincoln Community Health Center opened to serve those who fall between the cracks, but because of budget cuts, they’ve had to cut hours, leaving many in this tourism-driven economy stuck with difficult health care decisions.