The tyranny of adequate health care

I don’t get it. I really don’t get it.

Now that the dust has settled a little, and folks have had a chance to look at the US Supreme Court decision regarding ObamaCare, I had hoped that the reaction from our state leaders would have been a bit more pragmatic, but nooooo.

I know. My wife says I’m hopelessly optimistic as well, but I really didn’t expect how vociferously some state politicians — hell, some of the folks right here in Milam County — would react to this, and how fully they’d buy and sell the misinformation.

The vast majority of what I’ve heard from Tea Party Republicans  sounds like what I’d expect from a sulky 7 year old who doesn’t want to clean up his room or eat his vegetables — yeah, broccoli — and what they are saying is about as attractive.

One of these Ditto Heads told me — honestly! — that we didn’t need health care reform because the poor already have access to free health care, and he meant that poor people could just go to an emergency room and get all the treatment they needed. I simply could not get it through his head that emergency room treatment is the most expensive treatment available … and that HE was getting stuck with the bill for it!

Friends, every single study out there — every one! — shows that we spend less as a society on medical care when a major component of our health care outlay is preventive. That means, even if we pay for all of a poor person’s health care, we will spend less on it and have a healthier citizens than when that same person must resort to the emergency room for health care.

Make no mistake, every family in Texas is already paying for it when poor people (or uninsured people) default on their medical bills. We’re paying for it in local property taxes, in inflated hospital charges and about $1,500 a year in increased health insurance premiums to account for the folks who can’t or won’t take out insurance.

Never mind the devastation failure to participate in Obamacare will wreck on Texas families, it will continue to create a tremendous hardship on our public hospitals. They say that expanding Medicaid will cost Texas about $11 billion through 2019. That sounds like a lot until you learn that Texas hospitals lose $6 billion every year in uncompensated care (what they don’t get back when people fail to pay deductibles, or for emergency room care, or indigent care when counties run out of money, etc.).

Oh — just for the record, the reason fewer doctors are taking Medicaid patients isn’t because doctors don’t like Medicaid patients, it’s because the State of Texas not funding Medicaid properly. Doctors aren’t getting paid!

And now we’re finding out that the Medicaid expansion would cost less than half over the next 10 years than what Perry has been claiming.

Used to be that we could thank Mississippi and Oklahoma for keeping us off the bottom rung. Not any more. We are at the bottom in so many rankings including health care rankings … more people in Texas (as a percentage) and more children lack health insurance than in any other state. We rank 51st for health care delivery. Sure … we’ve got great doctors and hospitals in Texas … but, what difference does that make if people can’t afford to go?

But, because it’s another example of federal tyranny, we’re just gonna refuse to take part in ObamaCare and force millions of low income Texans to remain uninsured. Tell me, Gov. Rick … how’d it go for us the last time you took on the federal government, how’d that EPA thing work out for us, hunh?

Gov. Perry and his stooges in Austin have abdicated their responsibility. We need to latch on to that and make every opportunity to hammer them about their plan to make sure that average, everyday Texans remain on the bottom rung in so many things, from education to polluted air to health care.

I’m probably gonna shut up and move on to something else for a while. I mean, there’s that whole crazy 2012 Texas GOP platform to talk about and more on voter ID, the fact that some of the things that keep Texan citizens on the bottom are some of the very same things that make Texas a great place to do business … if you are a big corporation  … and we’ll need to talk about why it’s important that you go vote in the run-off, even though there is only one issue on the ballot for Democrats (Paul Sadler, Paul Sadler, Paul Sadler. And Paul Sadler).

In the mean time, here are a few links I’ve been saving up for you. And, below that, even more links.


About Richard Stone

... is a husband, a father, a writer, a journalist, an activist, an avid reader of trash science fiction and an occasional folk/bluegrass guitar player. He loves to travel, UT sports, community theater and sharing a good bottle of wine with good friends.
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