Thursday, July 12, 2012

Rick Perry Seems to Hate Poor Folks and Women (and especially poor women)

Rick Perry hates poor folks and women (and especially poor women, and extra-especially slutty poor women)

Health and reproductive news here in Texas always leaves me with a combination of "OMGWTF?!?" and "eh, what the heck else should I expect from the good ol' boys club?" Our governor, pride of Aggieland, Rick Perry, has of course declined to expand medicaid as outlined in the recently-approved-by-SCOTUS Affordable Care Act (ACA). That was an obvious one, since they ruled that states actually could not be coerced into the expansion. In the linked article on RH Reality Check, Grimes points out that we have the highest rate of uninsured folks of any state with 25% of our population lacking health insurance. Health policy expert Elena Marks told Grimes that leaving this population uninsured doesn't decrease the cost of their healthcare, it just shifts it to the privately insured population. Apparently, the Texas Medical Association (TMA) says "insured Texas families pay nearly 80 percent more than the national average in premiums to cover the cost of care for the uninsured." (Quote from RHRC piece, link is to TMA page with lots of good info that I haven't had time to check out.)

Wait....WHAT?!? So my ridiculously high-priced premiums, paid partly by me and partly by the UT system, amounts to robbery of my income to pay for uninsured folks' care?!? So we COULD be accepting federal money to try and set up insurance to get these folks preventative services, and instead we are taking money for emergency room visits out of my paycheck?!? Okay, less "meh" and more "OMGWTF" over here.

Let's not forget that this is just the "health" part of the news to which I refer, we haven't covered the "reproductive" part. We have already rejected federal money for the Women's Health Program, specifically so that we could make sure no funds will go to Planned Parenthood. More on that to be found here. Now the Texas Department of Health and Human Services has proposed new rules that not prevents physicians accepting Medicaid from affiliating with abortion providers, they cannot "promote" abortion. As in: they cannot even discuss it with their patients, or provide any information about abortion at all to their patients. So economically disadvantaged women, the ones least likely to have means of caring for an unplanned child, are disproportionately affected by these rules. Of course, they might not find themselves asking about abortion if they had just been able to get into Planned Parenthood for some affordable, effective contraceptives. 

Let's just hope we don't end up like Mississippi. Though the woman running the last clinic there is putting up a good fight. 

Just so we don't end on a sour note.... In happier news, "Melinda Gates Challenges Vatican by Vowing to Improve Contraception." Go on, girl!

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