Gloom And Doom For Uninsured Texas Children

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There are two solutions to help the population of uninsured children in Texas, according to a Houston pediatrician: Pray for change or move to Canada. That's overstating it a bit, but Dr. Ana Malinow, a pediatrician and co-founder of the advocacy group

Healthcare for All Texas

, tells Hair Balls that without a socialized, single-payer healthcare system, there isn't much hope for improvement.

"The truth of it is, that's how our roads are built, how our libraries and schools are built, and all our public services are sustained. Health care needs to be looked at as a public service," Malinow says. "It is a redistribution of wealth. It's publicly funded and privately delivered, just like Medicare."

The problem of uninsured children in the United States was featured in a report released last week. It's not a shocker, but Texas has the largest population and percentage of uninsured children. About 10 percent of all uninsured Americans live in Texas.

Some people blame the border, thinking that illegal immigrants juice the numbers. Not true, Malinow says.

"The problem is not a problem of the immigrant, it's a problem of working U.S. citizens. This is not something we can easily take care of if we just build a stronger and taller fence," Malinow says. "Fewer employers in Texas offer health insurance to their workers than in other places. It's not because we have more small employers, it's because we have less unionized work, we have more construction, and more low wage earners."

Even if Texas dumped more money in its existing Medicaid and children's insurance programs, it wouldn't help, Malinow says, because there's not enough money that could cover everyone that can't afford private insurance.

Malinow supports a bill currently in the U.S. House of Representatives that would create the type of system she promotes.

"We hope to be able to present it to our next president," Malinow says. "My guess is that one of the presidents would probably sign it, and the other one wouldn't."

-- Paul Knight

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