Monday, June 22, 2015

Rick Perry On Texas' High Uninsured Rate: "That's Not How We Keep Score"

Yesterday, former Presidential candidate and current Presidential candidate, Rick Perry, went on Fox News Sunday, where the host, Chris Wallace,  asked him a question on the subject of health care. Specifically about the absolutely horrid uninsured rate in his state. Let's see how that went:

WALLACE: One more question about Main Street or looking out for the little guy. When you were governor of Texas, your state had the highest uninsured rate in the country. One in five, more than one in five Texans didn't have health coverage, and yet you refused to set up a state exchange under Obamacare. You refused to expand Medicaid. Is that looking out for the little guy when 21 percent of Texans didn't have health insurance?

PERRY: If how you keep score is how many people you force to buy insurance, then I would say that that's how you keep score. That's not how we --

WALLACE: But the flip side of it, how many people don't have health insurance.

PERRY: Let me explain what we do in Texas. This is a state by state decision. We make access to healthcare the real issue. We passed the most sweeping tort reform in the nation. We got 35,000 more positions licensed to practice medicine in 2013 than we did a decade before that. This is an issue for me, it's about access to healthcare. And it's not about whether you force somebody to buy insurance. It's whether Texans have access to good healthcare.
I have to admit, I'm not sure what Perry's trying to say. He doesn't care about people having insurance, but rather, he cares about them having "access"? I'd figure insurance would fall under that umbrella. Is he trying to say that it's okay that so many people don't have insurance because they can still see a doctor? Who pays for that visit? The Freedom fairy? Or do most of the doctors down there treat all poor people for free?

Also, Perry's claim about massive surge in doctors rushing into Texas after he helped pass tort reform is, unsurprisingly, bunk:

And the bulk of that influx has come in larger cities where health care was already abundant, leaving large rural swaths of Texas still without doctors…. [M]edical records in Texas show that of the state’s 254 counties, only 106 have an obstetrician/gynecologist — just six more than in 2003. In Presidio County, which has 8,000 residents and is growing, some of Parsons’ patients move 240 miles away to live with relatives in Odessa or Midland when they become pregnant. […]
Medical rolls increased by 24 percent since 2003, while Texas’ population was soaring by 20 percent during the decade. Texas also saw rapid growth of physicians per capita before tort reform, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Furthermore, over 10,000 of those doctors were ones "“who sought licenses in Texas but took jobs elsewhere”. Oops.

And that leads me to my next question: if Rick Perry did such a great job in turning Texas in a free market utopia, why did/does it still have the highest uninsured rate in the country?  Under Perry's stewardship, taxes were cut, spending was cut, regulations were cut, tort reform was passed, the  medicaid expansion was turned down, etc. Don't conservatives constantly say these policies would somehow allow more people to be insured? In fact, Texas seems like a great example of what the rest of the country would be like if the Republican alternative to Obamacare was actually in place.

1 comment:

  1. As far as republicans are concerned, uninsured Texans have "access" to healthcare. That is all that is needed. If they make a "choice" as "consumers" to feed their children or pay the rent or keep the lights on rather than see a doctor for that strange lump, well, then it is only their decision-making skills when making "consumer choices" that is to blame for a tragedy down the road.

    People like Perry are just soulless monsters in my opinion.