Friday, August 15, 2008

Texas As An Example?

When ranking states, Texas is next to last in children's access to health care, yet U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) presents it as a shining example for the rest of the nation.

Here's a clipping from the Commonwealth Fund report (emphasis mine):

[...] the 13 states at the bottom quartile of the overall performance ranking—Illinois, New Mexico, New Jersey, Alaska, Oregon, Arkansas, Nevada, Texas, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, and Oklahoma—lag well behind their peers on multiple indicators across dimensions[...]
Now for a bit of perspective on his health care stance: Cornyn voted against SCHIP, which now covers about half a million Texas children. He also opposed the reinstatement of adequate Medicare reimbursements to providers. Cornyn initially opposed reinstating adequate Medicare reimbursements to doctors, causing the Texas Medical Association to rescind their endorsement of him during a recent re-election bid.

Now according to The Houston Chronicle he has been speaking out about Texas as a shining example. Here's a quote form the Chronicle story:

"So, you have to understand what I mean when I say I want to make Washington, D.C., and the rest of our country more like Texas (because), frankly, we know the policies that actually work." [-U.S. Sen. John Cornyn]

As the debate continues and we see more instances like this, it would behoove us all to beware of political spin from either side and focus on the facts. The Commonwealth Fund has been doing a magnificent job of providing hard data at a time when it is so desperately needed. Thanks, guys!

SOURCE: "Out of touch Senator's depiction of Texas' health care system as a national role model departs from reality" 08/14/08
SOURCE: "U.S. Variations in Child Health System Performance: A State Scorecard" 05/25/08
photo courtesy of little black spot on the sun today, used under its Creative Commons license


  1. I read your article on electronic medical records and would like to recommend that you and your readers test drive our unique solution. (MMR), a Patient Health Record, put a priority on two issues that are difficult to find together in most PHR programs and EMR systems. First is ease-of-use—all your healthcare providers need is a fax machine to put all your records into your account: each is turned into a PDF image using a proprietary process, which you then file. Second is privacy and security: we have such a bulletproof system that no hackers-for-hire have ever been able to penetrate it. You can share the account with up to 10 members of your family and each one would have secondary passwords to be sure privacy is protected. We also provide a special file that can be accessed by emergency personnel, which can have your critical information, like blood type and drug allergies. MMR is also by far the most feature-rich PHR on the market and is an Integrated Service Provider on Google Health—we have everything from a drug interaction database that red flags contraindications to calendar reminders for doctor appointments and prescription refills. If anyone wants to try this out for 30 days, just use the code TRYMMR.
    Scott Smith

  2. There is no question that Texas health care is in trouble. The uninsured and those who have to deal with our troubled insurance systems can certainly testify to that. But that's not what Senator Cornyn was talking about. You conveniently left the second sentence out of the senator's quote out. As the Chronicle reported: "We have created greater access to quality health care in Texas," he told the Greater Houston Pachyderm Club, a GOP group. "How did we do it? Well, we passed Proposition 12."

    He's talking about medical liability reform that we passed here in 2003.

    Without medial liability reform and Proposition 12, our problems would be much worse. Since the passage of liability reforms and Prop 12:
    - Doctors find it much easier to recruit new physicians to their communities, even among high-risk specialties and in the “lawsuit war zones” of south and east Texas.
    - Texas physicians are much more likely to accept patients with complex or high-risk problems, and many feel comfortable offering their patients new services.
    - Charity care has greatly increased.
    - After years of decline, the ranks of medical specialists are growing.
    - Doctors are bringing critical specialties to underserved areas.
    - Hospitals are upgrading equipment, expanding their emergency room capabilities.

    We have a long way to go. But look how much further behind we would be without the 2003 reforms.

    Steve Levine
    VP, Communication
    Texas Medical Association


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.