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US Health Care Plunges, Texas Drops 9 Points

December 7, 2008

Ranking: Texas is 46th this year; it was 37th in 2007.

  • Strengths: Strengths include a low prevalence of smoking at 19.3 percent of the population, a low prevalence of binge drinking at 15.0 percent of the population, a  low rate of cancer deaths at 186.3 deaths per 100,000  population and a moderate infant mortality rate at 6.5 deaths per 1,000 live births.
  • Challenges: Challenges include a high rate of uninsured population at 24.9 percent, a high percentage of children in poverty at 25.0 percent of persons under age 18, a high incidence of infectious disease at 23.8 cases per 100,000 population and limited access to primary care with 95.0 primary care physicians per 100,000 population. Texas ranks lower for health determinants than for health outcomes, indicating that overall healthiness may remain low in future years.
  • Significant Changes: In the past year, the percentage of children in poverty increased from 22.0 percent to 25.0 percent of persons under age 18.  In the past year, the prevalence of smoking increased from 17.9 percent to 19.3 percent of the population. Since 1990, the infant mortality rate decreased from 9.3 to 6.5 deaths per 1,000 live births.  Since 1990, the prevalence of obesity increased from 12.3 percent to 28.6 percent of the population.
  • Health Disparities: In Texas, low birth weight babies are more common among non-Hispanic blacks at 13.9 percent than Hispanics at 7.2 percent. Access to health care varies significantly by race and ethnicity in the state; 29.3 percent of non-Hispanic blacks and 55.7 percent of Hispanics lack health insurance compared to 16.8 percent of non-Hispanic

U.S. health gains stall, could reverseus_cities_health_care

After a decade of robust gains, America’s health has leveled off and may be poised to take a plunge, an analysis warns.

… look at nearly two decades of progress in access to medical care, immunizations, prenatal care, infant mortality, heart disease deaths, smoking cessation, deaths by infectious disease, violent crime and occupational fatalities.
America’s Health Rankings
,  provides an annual analysis of national health on a state-by-state basis and ranking of the healthiest and least healthy states. The 2008 Rankings reveal the overall health of the U.S. population has not improved for the fourth year in a row.

The health status of Americans has stagnated.  America’s Health Rankings shows that after steady improvement from 1990-2000 the health of the American people has leveled off, despite an increase in health care spending and major advances in medical technology.

… our health care system is heavily tilted toward sick care at the expense of well care or keeping people healthy.  About 95 cents of every dollar spent in the U.S. on health goes to diagnose or treat disease after it occurs, leaving less than 5 cents on the dollar to prevent disease.

It’s not enough to just increase access to medical care.  America’s Health Rankings points out, health outcomes are the result of multiple factors that are intertwined, including personal behaviors, public and health policy, community and environment, and clinical care.  Real reform will address all of those factors.

Other findings from the report:

  • From 2007 to 2008, 36 states had positive changes in their overall health scores and 14 had negative changes.
  • Utah had the lowest prevalence of smoking (11.7%)
  • Massachusetts had the lowest rate of uninsured citizens (7.9%)
  • Colorado had the lowest obesity rate (19.3%)
  • The percentage of uninsured Hispanics is 34.2%, compared with 17.7% of non-Hispanic blacks and 12.2% of non-Hispanic whites
  • Non-Hispanic blacks had the highest rate of low birth weight infants (13.8%), followed by non-Hispanic whites (7.2%) and Hispanics (6.8%)
  • Blacks have a more than double the rate of cardiovascular death than other races (395.7 versus 181.8 per 100,000 population)

This report can be downloaded from America’s Health Rankings 2008.

hl0622pillsWhat’s Wrong with America’s Health Care

Doctors ditch drug samples to avoid influencing treatment

5 misconceptions about health care

The United States is No. 1 in only one sense: the amount we shell out for health care. We have the most expensive system in the world per capita, but we lag behind many developed countries on virtually every health statistic you can name.

We rank near the bottom of countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, just ahead of Cuba and way behind Japan, France, Italy, Sweden and Canada, countries whose governments (gasp!) pay for the lion’s share of health care. Infant mortality in the United States is 6.8 per 1,000 births, more than twice as high as in Japan, Norway and Sweden and worse than in Poland and Hungary.

US Compared to other nations is SAD

US Map of Health Rankings – Southern US has poorest Health

interactive map provides a quick  snapshot of 2008 findings nationwide, as well  as state-by-state results. Select the appropriate tab or roll over your state to learn more.austinbush-negotiates_600

Texas has lost ground in the past decade, this is sad because it has declined under the watchful eye of the Republican Party who idolized George W Bush.  Many Texas Republican politicians and a few Texas Democrats have been caught in the hypocritical pocket of Corporate Lobbyists .  The Republican Party, in general, has favored BIG Business, including Medical Corporations who see the sick as dollar signs.  Texas looks like it leads the pack in putting dollars above life quality.  Texas needs to reinstate the Hippocratic oath and throw out the Hypocritical oath it has been following.

Texas Health Care Association

Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC)

Texas Health Resources

By excluding the insurance challenged among us, the American Health industry is no longer in responsible to the patient. Doctors and practitioners are forced to genuflect to big business for their daily bread.  They are forced to limit or expand treatment as dictated by the payer and the chain of medical testing providers they must support, according to the insurance networks they are bound to. Those fortunate Americans, who can afford to travel to foreign medical facilities, often have a more success receiving treatment without the burdens of industry dictated treatment programs.

America has incredible medical technology that is muted by corporations who must answer to their board of directors and investors and profit margin.  Today’s economic crisis is amplifying health care failures.  Unemployed Americans are focused on free clinics or home remedies without proper diagnosis. American workers are loosing their physical and mental health at a rate faster than their job loss  There are no real FREE CLINICS.  Someone is paying for the treatment, facilities and medication.  Taxpayers are loosing their ability to pay taxes that fund these clinics.  Donations are drying up.  FREE CLINICS are an imaginary dream that is evaporating as fast as our health

  1. December 19, 2008 8:04 am

    Very informative article, thank you. Medical tourism is an obvious choice for the un-insured. But even the insured are choosing to go abroad for medical treatment because of high insurance premia.


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