BUSINESS
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Too Poor For Insurance, Too Rich For Free Help

As part of its Bearing Witness 2.0 project, the Huffington Post is rounding up a few of the best local stories of the day.

Bryan Rupp reports for Southeast Texas's KBMT that Stacy Campbell has liver cancer. He's unemployed and too poor to buy his own health insurance -- but he's too rich for free help.

Campbell's wife, Janel, makes too much money for the family to qualify for the county-sponsored indigent health plan, reported KBMT. "You can't own a vehicle and you can't make over $250 a month to qualify for help" said Janel. Officials in Orange County, Texas, only provide healthcare to individuals earning less than 21 percent of the federal poverty limit. That means that any couple earning more than $3,060 per year don't qualify for the public services. Montrose Patient Advocates, which assists people like the Campbells, often refers patients outside of the county, to areas of the state with more inclusive social services.

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Some people have started panning and sifting for gold as an alternative way to make money, reports Kirsten Valle for the Charlotte Observer. The price of gold is at an all-time high compared to the dollar and jobs are hard to come by, which has turned some locals into amateur gold prospectors.

"We've got a tremendous amount of new people showing up because they're unemployed or underemployed and are trying to supplement their income," said Jeff Pickett, owner of the Cotton Patch mine in New London, N.C. "We're seeing the start of a new gold rush." One man reporting bringing in up to $175 worth of tiny gold flakes per day, which works out to a $63,000 yearly wage.

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A lawyer has filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that tens of thousands of foreclosures in metropolitan Detroit were filed illegally, making them invalid. Paul Egan of the Detroit News reports that the lawsuit, filed on behalf of 46 plaintiffs, has implications to nullify hundreds of thousands of foreclosures across the state which may have been improperly filed.

The claim is based around a technicality: according to state law, the county sheriff needs to sign the deeds for properties that the court sells off after a foreclosure, but in many cases the undersheriff signed instead. "It's a hyper-technical argument, but it's due process," said Paul Nicoletti, the filing attorney.

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An overflow homeless shelter that opened just this week in Springfield, Ill., has already projected it will soon have to turn people away as the homeless population rises. Patrick Yeagle, of the Illinois Times, reports that the shelter, which is active from Nov. 1 to April 30 each year when the weather gets cold, houses 50 beds, but that is projected to be too few. "We will get creative and develop another option," when space runs out, said shelter director Archie Form, "but right now there is no other option."

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Helen Altonn of the Honolulu Star Bulletin reports that Hawaii's 16 hospitals have gone $187 million into debt over the last year because of expensive medical care and unemployed patients. That number is only expected to rise as unemployment benefits and temporary COBRA benefits run out. "A lot of changes are coming and they're not going to add to the system; they're going to take away," said Terri Fuji, managing partner at an accounting firm that evaluated the losses. "We don't know exactly the impact, but it's negative."

HuffPost readers: Seen a compelling local story? Have a neighbor going to bizarre lengths to get through the recession? Tell us about it! Email jmhattem@gmail.com.