Texas Health Care

 Posted by at 22:11  Politics
Jun 262012

Later this week (they are saying Thursday), we shall find out whether the conservatives on the Supreme Court are going to invalidate all or part of the Affordable Health Care Law. While you’re waiting, here’s a little something you should read: “Rest Of The Country Should Take A Good Look At The Situation In Texas.”

Here’s just a bit to get you started…

Last year, Luis Duran drove almost 200 miles to San Antonio to have a colonoscopy because he didn’t want to wait six months for an opening at a county clinic.

A few days later, the doctor in San Antonio – a friend of a friend who had performed the screening for free – called to break the news that Duran, 51, had advanced colon cancer and needed immediate surgery.

“I kind of broke down,” recalled Duran, a machine operator whose employer had terminated his health policy. “I said, ‘Doctor, I don’t have insurance, and I don’t have much money, but I won’t refuse to pay. Please help me.'”

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and the problem of the uninsured is no exception. The Houston metropolitan area has one of the highest rates of uninsured people in America, and a health safety net imploding under the demands of too many people and too few resources. Almost one in three residents – more than a million people — lack health insurance, and about 400 are turned away every day from the county hospital district’s call center because they can’t be accommodated at any of its 23 community or school-based centers.

Those seeking care at the public hospital’s ER, meanwhile, arrive with blankets and coolers full of sandwiches and drinks in anticipation of waits that may go 24 hours or longer.

“If the Affordable Care Act is overturned, the rest of the country should take a good look at the situation in Texas, because this is what happens when you keep Medicaid enrollment as low as possible and don’t undertake insurance reforms,” said Elena M. Marks, a health policy scholar at Rice University’s James Baker Institute for Public Policy and a former city health official.

I encourage you to click on the link at the beginning of this post and read the full article. Texas isn’t doing so well. If the ACA is invalidated, neither will the rest of the country.

  2 Responses to “Texas Health Care”

  1. Yet I’ve heard more people whine, “I don’t want to be forced to buy health care!” Would they rather know someone died as a result of their selfishness?

  2. Len/Joyce,

    I don’t think anyone that is against Obamacare wants people to die. In this case, the unfortunate aspect of Obamacare is the mandate will be deemed unconstitutional since it is an overreach of Federal powers.

    That said, the question becomes, “How do we cover those who are not retirees or poor?” Since both of those two identified groups already have coverage (Medicare and Medicaid), what is the stop-gap for those fall outside of the system?

    The obvious solution that Congress should have embraced was the revamping of the existing Federal care programs (Medicare/Medicaid). The two programs should be merged together with the States financial burden returned to the Federal level (since they were Federal programs to begin with). From there, a single bureaucracy (terrible term, but it fits) would manage both groups to provide coverage while also establishing a reduced-cost coverage plan for those who are employed/self-employed but do not have access to affordable insurance plans.

    By going with this approach, you achieve many things:

    1) You remove the overwhelming burden placed upon the States to fund a Federal program (Medicaid) which robs them of the limited resources it needs to provide their residents with needed services (education, transportation, etc).

    2) You decrease the upper-level management overhead expenses on the Federal level by merging Medicare and Medicaid together. This frees up more resources that can be used to fund the health care needs for more people.

    3) By having the new Federal program providing access to discounted health care plans, the Federal government can increase/decrease the current Federal healthcare taxes accordingly to fund the subsidized plans.

    That covers everyone who wishes to have medical coverage. You will still have people who choose not to (or like illegal immigrants, unable to do so) purchase a plan. For those people, you pass a law that would require them to pay the equivalent to the monthly cost of Federal insurance plan to the hospital that provided the service until the debt is paid off or face jail (or deportation, if they are here illegally). That covers the rest of the population.

    Simple, easy, and Constitutional.

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