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Monday, April 25, 2011

Haley Barbour - claims everyone in Mississippi has access to healthcare

Anyone can go to the emergency room, ergo, everyone has access to health care. It's a line that Republicans seem to trot out every so often and while it is technically correct, emergency room access is a long way from healthcare. Isn't the object of 'health care' to minimize the risk of having to go to the emergency room where Federal law prohibits a hospital from turning away anyone who needs emergency treatment.

But here’s another truth: emergent care is not the same thing as necessary care. Not even close. An emergent condition is defined by the law to mean a woman in active labor, or a health problem that, if not treated immediately, would lead to death, serious harm to bodily organs, or serious impairment of bodily functions.

The incidental Economist, a blog/website that deals with health care and reform issues points out that Barbour uses one truth to obscure many others. Barbour's argument is that reform isn't really necessary because of emergency room access but that access cannot and does not provide necessary health care.

Over 25 million people in the United States have diabetes, requiring regular access to medication to stay alive. They can’t get insulin in an emergency room. They can’t get needed eye exams or kidney function tests in the emergency room. They can’t get a checkup in the emergency room. But once they go into hypoglycemic shock or once their feet become gangrenous, then they can get examined and treated. Does that sound like access to health care?

About 20 million people in the United States have asthma. They can’t get their prescription refills in an emergency room. They can’t get the equipment then need, like nebulizers or inhalers or spacers in an emergency room. They also can’t get checkups in an emergency room. Once they have an attack so bad that they could die they can get examined and treated, but that’s not access to health care.

Over 200,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. Not a single one of them could get a mammogram in an emergency room. Over 140,000 people were diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2010. Not a single one of them could get a colonoscopy in the emergency room.

The callous idiocy of so many politicians on the right is sometimes mind-numbing. For many of them their callousness comes from growing up in affluence or relative affluence and have absolutely no comprehension of the daily rigors of life that so many who aren't born as lucky as they were, have to go through. Then again, it's a given that such people are just shiftless lazy bums, not people caught up in cycle that is hard to break our of.

Their idiocy, brought on by a blind faith in the idea that government can never do any good for anyone, insists on hacking away at programs and ideas that can save money in the long run and more importantly, help people who need an assist. The obvious case this article makes is the cost of emergency room treatment for a health issue that could have been arrested long before. The taxpayer ends up paying for the emergency room treatment anyway.

One of the programs that didn't survive the budget compromise was Head Start. Head Start provides preschool comprehensive child-development services to economically disadvantaged children and families — with a special focus on helping preschoolers — enhance early reading and math skills. It provides a double service, allowing parents to work instead of staying home taking care of their children as well as giving children an early start in a nurturing, structured and educational environment. Research has shown that every dollar spent on Head Start saves $9 in the long run. Head Start graduates are less likely to use drugs or be arrested later in life, they are more likely to graduate high school, go to college and live a productive life. That means less money needed to be spent on prisons, food stamps and welfare, yet the callous idiocy of the Republicans thought funding had to be cut.

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