Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Unholy Policy

By Zamboni

No state legislature has fought the Affordable Care Act more fiercely than Texas's. No two US Senators have kicked and screamed harder to save their constituents from the evils of Obamacare. And now, it looks like Texas is about to lose a passel of rural hospitals.

It's due to a combination of factors — like, there are huge stretches of the Lone Star State in which nobody lives — but one reason is the rate of the uninsured. Oh, and the fact that the Republicans running the state refused to accept the ACA's Medicaid expansion, despite the fact that Washington would be footing the bill. So with all the other pressures bearing down on rural healthcare providers, shouldering uncompensated care can simply push them past the breaking point.

Like the hospital in tiny Trinity, north of Houston. It's closing this month, wiping out dozens of jobs and forcing residents to go 20 extra miles for emergency and other care. You know, if you're having a heart attack or a stroke, a lot of bad things can happen during those 20 miles.

And when a report by Texas A&M suggests that telemedicine might be one answer to rural residents' plight, it bears remembering that one of the projects that President Obama's 2009 stimulus package proposed was to fund broadband expansion into rural areas. Of course, the Republicans fought that tooth and nail as Communistic and un-American. So, never mind.

Oh, well! At least the Republican Governor and the GOP state legislators are protecting the right of Texans to be free from the tyranny of Obamacare, right? Losing a Trinity cardiac patient who could have been saved at a closer hospital is just one small result of their political courage. How inspiring (NOT). We cats HISS.

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