A survey of Floyd County residents a few years ago showed more than 60 percent do not have any form of health insurance.

That’s not surprising in a county where, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the per capita annual income is $16,345. Basic health insurance for two people through Anthem Blue Cross costs more than $12,000 a year. That doesn’t leave much for basics like food or rent.

Even those with health insurance find themselves strapped to pay for the things that aren’t covered. We’ve contributed to two fundraisers in recent months for a county employee battling colon cancer.

Carilion Health Care Systems, the "non-profit" company that holds a virtual monopoly on the area’s medical providers, banked more than $100 million in profits in 2007. Yet the costs of medical care provided by Carilion far exceeds that of independent operations in Roanoke and other parts of Southwestern Virginia.

The situation gets worse for Seniors Some 15.7 percent of Floyd County’s 14,789 residents are 65 or older — many living on fixed incomes.

Which means too many residents of our county simply can’t afford to get sick.

AN ADDITIONAL MEDICAL NOTE: Floyd County framer and blogger David St. Lawrence suffered a heart attack recently and is in the Cardiac Care Unit of Roanoke Memorial Hospital.  He’s keeping us updated on his condition through his blog — Ripples. Our best wishes to David for a speedy recovery.