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Monday, September 20, 2010

Applied Econ, Healthcare and the Long, Slow Rot of Civilisation.

Thanks to Medicaid, we were able to, finally, determine just what invisible substances in our local environment caused our Youngest Son to be sick all Fall and Winter. We had already suspised "Allergies"...but it's good to have several specific culprits...Mountain Cedar Pollen being the main one.We had to go to Kerrville, 70 miles, one way, to determine this.
"Allergy Shots", (Immunotherapy) was Indicated...and commenced.
After 5-6 trips, we finally finagled our way into our regular Doctor, in Fredericksberg, giving the weekly shots.
Now, it will be done at the Hospital in Fredericksberg.(45 miles, one way) Our Doc's Nurse was very worried about doing this to a 4 year old, due to Risk of Anaphalaxis...I completely understand her Fears..
That's not the point.
The point is, here, in mason, we have the Remains of a Hospital (my wife was actually Born there)...that has shrunk into a Clinic, with attached ER...and, now , shrunk even further to just a Clinic...with a Physician's Assistant attending...a "Real" Doctor comes around once a week.
They won't do the shots..."Liability" is suspected, but they say they don't have the resources.
The ER has been shut down.
So I get to drive an extra 80+- Miles, each week, in order to see if this treatment will alleve my Son's suffering.
I am ready and willing do do this, of course...but it equals an extra $70 spent on Gas, every month.
For all the Green Shoots rumored to be in evidence in the larger economy, and despite Good Hair Rick's insitance that Texas is, somehow, immune to the economic woes of the rest of the world...Mason has been in a de facto Depression for 10 years.
This translates into a lack of employment and opportunity....on top of my own Disability.
I can see nothing ,down the road, that will alleviate these problems.
Yet, all around me, are folks who, on the one hand, insist that "Liberals" are somehow to blame, exclusively, for these problems...and, on the other, that everything is just fine.
That these problems are our own, individual Fault...due to Sin and Laziness, I suppose.
I disagree.
These things are a result of Choices made, by individuals, and well as by our "Leaders" make things this way, whether inadvertantly, or no.
On these many trips south, and back...I have noticed a lot of Road Repair.
Since I frequent this highway, I can attest that there is no Obvious reason to be tearing up the road and then reinstalling it.
In fact, the "repairs" have the immediate effect of making that portion of the road thus "repaired" much worse than it was.
This is what Job Creation looks like.
It's the kind of stimulous that was settled for, since the "Conservatives" stood up and hollered about everything Real Health Reform.
The county owns, to my best knowledge, what remains of our little Clinic.They contract the operation of it out to a company, which I can't remember the name of.They are tied, somehow, to the Hospital in Llano, as well.
The operating company has changed a coupla times since I've been paying attention to such things.
I rarely go to the doctor, at all...and it is even rarer to see me in Mason's Clinic. A PA is simply not worth the $60+...I'd rather go to Fredericksberg on the rare occasion when I am sick.
Our Regular Doc has all our records, and we have a good relationship...he understands, and accepts, my quirks...a valuable quality, in itself.
Another thing that is operative in Mason...since we no longer have a functioning ER (the equipment and whatnot is still there), when one has a serious enough problem to call an ambulance, one must go to Fredericksberg or Llano.
My own trip to Fredericksberg ER, wherein I was given a ride and O2, cost more than $1000,plus XRay, Plus ER,Plus,plus,plus.
For Really Serious Cases, the default is to call a Helicopter....which will run you $30,000, and up.
The helicopter Company was Privatised several years ago, and costs have skyrocketed. They sell their own "Insurance"...and those who can afford such get preference.(hospital of choice, as well as a lower overall bill).
In Mason County, about a Third of the population is on Medicare...lots of Old Folks.
So there's not a lot of Public Agitation for fixing all this.
Those who have Power and Money and Healthcare, see no reason to give a shit about the rest of us.
To make this last bit worse, we are a very Red County...Obama's a Socialist,etc...
The Poor are Poor, due to their own lack of Initiative.
Po Folks are almost totally unrepresented in Mason.
Fully 18% of the population was below the federal Poverty least in 2000, when the last such data wre collected.
it is likely Higher, now.
23% were over 65, 24% under 18...and the rest scattered in the middle.
Eleven, out of the 900 or so, households make above $75K...most are clustered around the high 20's...Median is $26K in Town.
For the County, as a whole, the numbers are skewed higher...lotsa Ranchers,etc..Old Money...out in the country.
My point is that Mason has been in decline, economically, for 10+ years...and the Ideology of the Majority does nothing but make things worse.
It's bad enough that I can't get a hip, knee, etc...I'm likely gonna hafta get rid of our phones to continue to take my kid for his shot.
There is ,simply, nothing left to cut.

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