Thursday, October 09, 2014

Colonoscopy, or not?

I took off earlier this week to take care of  a routine wellness screening.

If you haven't scheduled yours, do it today!

That's so very easy to say, to consider, to schedule and to afford, for most of us.

But not for all of us.

Access to quality, basic wellness strategies and health care benefits remains largely unavailable to millions of Texans--almost 5 millions to be exact.  That number represents 32% of our population, and makes us #1 in the number of uninsured in the nation.  A dubious distinction indeed. The translation, deadly. 

People talk about "death panels" in conversations about universal health coverage and its results. 


Our current system functions as one giant, pre-wired, "death panel." 

If you don't qualify for insurance coverage of some sort--private or public--you are largely on your own.  The cost of paying for treating the uncovered after their conditions worsen to the point of administering heroic, end of life treatments is astronomical, resulting in huge loses to us all. 

For example, between 2003 and 2006, 30.6% of direct medical care expenditures for minority communities resulted from health inequalities.  Eliminating health inequalities for minorities during the period would have saved $229.4 billion.   The costs of health inequalities and premature death for the same four years totaled $1.24 trillion [see "Building Stronger Communities for Better Health:  The Geography of Health Equity," Dr. Brian D. Smedly, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies].

As medical staff handled me with great care and respect earlier this week as I accessed a routine preventive procedure, I thought of the 1 of 3 fellow Texans who cannot expect such treatment or experience such options all because they cannot afford to pay

Many who finally do access such treatment will find that it is too little, too late.

Is this really the kind of Texas we want? 

No comments: