Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Health Insurance Gap in TX

Gee, silly me thought compassionate conservatism meant trying to help poor people survive. Guess that only worked in 2000 while stealing an election. Now, the naked hate and barbarism of Tea Bagger party has come out in plain view, cheering Governor Goodhair's (TX) sanctioned executions of near 250 human beings and the death of someone without health insurance.

At long last, Teabaggers, have you any shred of human decency left?

Texas miracle my ass!

[...But for the more than 6 million Texans without health insurance, these world-class institutions remain largely out of reach. Texas has the highest rate of uninsured people in the country - 24.6 percent - and the number of uninsured that has grown by 35 percent during Governor Rick Perry’s 11-year tenure. And here in Harris County, which includes Houston, the state’s largest city, the picture is even more troubling: One out of three people lacks insurance.

“This is ground zero in the health care disaster,’’ said Dr. Leonard Zwelling, an oncologist at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. “Houston is such a rich city, with some of the best medical care in the world… . And yet the people without insurance have a heck of a time getting into most of these facilities because they can’t pay...’’

And in a state where 16.8 percent of children are uninsured, more than all but one other state, only half of Texas children have a medical provider who knows them and coordinates their care. More than a third of them have not received recommended medical and preventive care within the year, and immunization rates are low as well. Texas also ranks last in the country in the percent of children who receive needed mental health care.

Doctors recount horror stories of uninsured patients who die of treatable diseases because families delay seeking medical help or must endure long waits for appointments with specialists.

Dr. Katherine Yudeh King, a pediatrician at Ben Taub General Hospital, which serves a large uninsured population, said one of her patients, a 15-month-old boy, died from dehydration due to diarrhea because his family brought him to the hospital too late, assuming they could not afford care.

This is the type of thing that happens in Somalia and other developing nations, not something that should happen in Houston,’’ said King, one of the founding members of Doctors for Change, a group that advocates for universal health care in Harris County.

Other doctors tell of uninsured children dying from vaccine-preventable diseases such as influenza and hepatitis A, and patients being admitted into the emergency room for uncontrolled asthma and diabetes. Doctors here routinely see untreated infections of the ear, sinus, or tooth spreading to the brain, requiring surgery, and bone infections that result in permanent disability.

This is an everyday occurrence,’’ said Dr. Claire Bocchini, another Houston pediatrician who specializes in infectious diseases and is president of Doctors for Change.

As underfunded as the state’s health safety net has been, conditions stand to worsen. In the last legislative session that ended in May, the state cut two thirds of the funding for women’s health clinics and underfunded Medicaid by almost $4 billion, in addition to cutting hospital reimbursements. This follows other health cuts in the Perry years...

The burden of the Texas health care crisis falls largely on the working poor. Most of the state’s uninsured adults have jobs and are US citizens or legal residents, according to the nonpartisan Center for Public Policy Priorities. Working adults account for nearly two out of three uninsured Texans between ages 19 and 64, though most of them make less than $25,000 a year.

An example is Joyce Jones, a 60-year-old yoga instructor earning $20,000 a year who said she cannot afford private health insurance because she has Parkinson’s disease, a preexisting condition that would increase her premiums.

Jones has maxed out three of her credit cards paying for health care and has more than $30,000 in credit card debt. She is in the process of signing up for a high-deductible plan for people with preexisting conditions, made possible through the new federal health overhaul law - “Obamacare,’’ as Perry and other GOP candidates call it.] emphasis added

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