My husband missed work most of last week when he came down with the swine flu. All the symptoms he exhibited were classic signs of H1N1, or more commonly known as the swine flu. The symptoms were a fever of 102.3, sore muscles, runny nose, excessive sweat, nausea, sore throat, headache, and a cough. I immediately called my mother who then called my grandfather since he's a doctor, and has been my doctor ever since I was a little girl. My grandfather, Papi Grande, immediately prescribed medicine for my husband to deal with the swine flu. I've never seen my husband get this sick, and it was scary over a couple of days when his fever wouldn't break, but it finally broke on Saturday.
And I'm coming down with it myself, and my grandfather is prescribing me medicine as well. After a week of making soup for my husband, giving him backrubs, and checking his temperature, it's now his turn to do the same for me. Ain't marriage grand that way?
We're not the only ones being hit with the swine flu in Texas. Over 233 Texans were sent to the hospital, with 49 admitted to the ICU, and 63 deaths have resulted as a result of the swine flu hitting Texas.
South Texas is one of the hardest-hit areas by the swine flu. It's also home to the largest uninsured population at risk from diabetes, obesity, and other chronic illnesses. One of the counties where over 12 people were sent to the hospital, and 11 died, is Hidalgo County. It's a very predominately Hispanic area where most of the people live below the poverty line, are on either Medicaid, Medicare, or are without insurance. Hispanic-Americans and African-Americans here in Texas have the most to lose from the swine flu since they're among the minority groups here without insurance, are prone to chronic diseases, and typically face obstacles to health care access.
They're also the ones at great risk from dying from the swine flu because they don't have access to a doctor, have insurance coverage, or can afford the medicines to combat the swine flu. My husband has insurance through his employer, so we're able to afford the co-pays on medicines for the swine flu. We're lucky for now because we have an immediate access to a doctor who happens to be my grandfather, but thousands of Texans aren't as lucky. How many more deaths will result because Texans can't afford to go to the ER, or the co-pays on their medicines?
The Center for Public Policy Priorities, one of the best think tanks here in Texas, has said that Texas has the most to gain from health care reform:
The 2008 American Community Survey (ACS) data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on September 21 show that Texans stand to gain the most from national health reform. Nearly all of Texas' metro and rural area uninsured rates exceed the U.S. average. Texas again had the nation's highest statewide uninsured rate, and some localities far exceeded the statewide rate of 24.1 percent. Texas entered the recession later than the rest of the nation and experienced low rates of unemployment through most of 2008, so these new data reflect only the very beginning of the recession's impact on Texas.
The CPPP quotes the CBO which estimates that Texans have the most to gain from the House bill, H.R. 3200:
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that roughly 4.5 million uninsured Texans would gain coverage through the latest health reform bill in the U.S. House of Representatives. Secure, affordable health care will help Texas’ low-income workers access decent care, even if they become unemployed.
The CPPP also has a website set up that explains what health care reform under the House bill will do for people in Texas. It's why the opt-out proposal is bad public policy as it'd hurt those the most that desperately need access to the public option, as I and others like kath25 have pointed out.
And not even all Democratic Senators like the opt-out proposal, and favors the Snowe trigger instead, like Bill Nelson who just appeared on MSNBC and had this to say:
[Bill Nelson] said does not support the opt out. He said the public option should be a national schumer style "level playing field" public option available every where. He than said he prefer Snowe's trigger as the second best compromise if the schumer plan could not make it into law. He said snowe's trigger would be "stronger" and better than the opt out.
Here's more from TPM:
Nelson said the "trigger" plan "would be more important" than the "opt-out" compromise, saying that "otherwise you could have a state (that) would say, well, the insurance companies lobbied that state and they just completely did what the insurance companies wanted and took away the public option."
Nelson also said he expects the Baucus bill to pass the Senate Finance Committee tomorrow: "All the Democrats will vote for it to get it out of the committee. And I'm very hopeful and I'm very optimistic that Olympia will as well."
It's interesting that Senate moderates like Bill Nelson aren't biting on the opt-out proposal, and would rather have the Snowe trigger instead. Nelson also additionally voted for the Schumer level-playing field proposal in the SFC mark-up.
Also, if you want to help our POP! campaign for the public option, please feel free to participate by joining up with us! And to stay tuned for further updates and news, you can follow me onTwitter @slinkerwink.