Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Local News

June 11, 2008

Texas lags in health care access

One in five Texas children uninsured

Texas is worse than any other state in the nation for access to healthcare, according to a new study by The Commonwealth Fund.

The study, released May 28, ranked the 50 states and Washington D.C. on 13 separate indicators and five different dimensions of health care, such as the number of children and adults with insurance and the infant mortality rate.

Texas was found to have the highest number of uninsured children and adults.

“Twenty percent of children in Texas don’t have health insurance,” said Edward Schor, M.D, a pediatrician and vice president of The Commonwealth Fund.

The Commonwealth Fund is a private, charitable organization based in New York City. According to the Web site, the group’s aim is to promote a high performing health care system.

Schor said Thursday that access to health care is probably the most powerful indicator of a state’s overall health care system. With one out of five Texas children uninsured, Texas is at the bottom of the bottom quartile in the scorecard.

“It means you have a lot of room for improvement,” Schor said.

Precinct Commissioner Don Beeson said the information is sad news for the state of Texas.

“If that is indeed a true reflection of where we stand, then I would say that at the state, county and local level we need to start working really hard to provide more health insurance coverage,” Beeson said.

Beeson, a certified emergency medical technician, has served as a fire and police chief and worked as a part-time investigator for 27 years for the Johnson County medical examiner.

“The uninsured in Texas represent a broad segment of the community,” said Blake Kretz, president of Harris Methodist Walls Regional Hospital. “More than 80 percent of the uninsured or underinsured are employed or have at least one member of their family who is working. We cannot build hospitals fast enough to keep up with the demand of a growing and aging population if current trends continue. As a result, we're looking to find ways to keep people from needing to come to our hospitals. That means we must change our thinking to focus on prevention and wellness.

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