I just spent $471 on a doctor's office visit & lab work.  Before the month is out, I will spend another $460, and that doesn't include $50 worth of prescriptions.  Prescriptions which don't control the lupus any more.  I don't even see a family practice Dr any more ($120 per office visit) nor see the eye doctor every 6 months as I should because one of my meds (Hydroxychloroquine) can cause deposits in my eyes.  I need new glasses too, but am doing with reading glasses from Big Lots (3 pr/$5).  I haven't had a pap smear in years.  Nor have I had a colonoscopy, as I should have. I haven't been to the dentist in over three years.  I've quit testing my blood sugar on a daily basis because (a) I simply cannot afford the test strips any more,and (b) the prednisone I take raises blood sugar levels such that I feel it is futile to try to control it.

The good news is that the $460 more that I will spend will cover a panel of 6 blood tests that serve as a substitute for the $2000-7000+ liver biopsy I have been putting off until my platelet count got high enough not to risk bleeding to death, and six other tests, including an electrocardiogram.  On lab quoted me $378 for the blood tests.   The second quoted me $341.  What I figured out is that if I get some of them from the first lab, and some of them from the second lab, they will total $311..  The other panel of 6 ultrasound tests is $149.

Last week 6 July)  my local paper had an article about Texas's report on health care, I posted the results.  Allow me to repeat it here for those who missed it.

     Todays Houston Chronicle': Federal Report ranks state worst in nation for services provided The headline? TEXAS 
     HEALTH CARE BASHED. World ranked medical center and weak or very weak on 9 of 12 health care delivery 
     categories. Of course part of that is that we have the nation's highest uninsured populace -- 25% VERY WEAK on 
     home health care for elderly & disabled who live at home, for diabetes care
     BEST SCORE (average) on mortality & potentially avoidable complications of PRIVATELY INSURED PERSONS
     BELOW AVERAGE on those for uninsured & those covered by Medicare & Medicaid 
     DEAD LAST on caring for breast cancer patients under 70
     Rick Perry's press secretary's response? "Texas will continue to fight the federal government for more flexibility to 
     meet our health care challenges, which is crucial to effectively improving our health care system." 

Today's paper (9 July) offers this:  Fewer Texas doctors taking poor patients  
     -- Doctors accepting new patients on Medicaid has dropped from 67% in 2000 to 42% in 2010 to 31% this year.  This is 
         due to the Texas Medicaid program reimbursing the doctors at low rates.
    -- 27% of Texas patients lack insurance, making Texas last in the nation in % insured.
    -- For Medicare, the % of Drs accepting new patients relying solely on it went from 78%in 2000 to 66% in 2010 to 58% 
        this year. The federally managed Medicare pays better than Medicaid, administered by the state.  This time the drop 
        is attributed to onerous Paperwork.
   -- only 46% now accept poor children covered by CHIP
   -- Texas medical students leave to take up residencies elsewhere because the state doesn't fund enough positions.
   -- The number of primary care physicians in Texas is 72/1000,000 in urban areas, and 52 per 100,000 in rural areas.  
        Thr national average is 128/100,000.  On the other hand the number of obstetricians has grown.  Many doctors are
       slated to retire over the next 10 years.

Check out these news announcements and stories.  Pay attention to the TIMING.
Aug 26, 2009 ... HOUSTON – Gov. Rick Perry today highlighted Texas' efforts to combat the state nursing shortage by further investing in nursing education.

Jul 14, 2010 ... Texas is facing a shortage of 71000 nurses by 2020 as demand continues to outpace supply, the Texas Department of State Health Services ...

Jul 13, 2010 ... The state is facing a shortage of 71000 nurses by 2020 as demand continues to outpace supply, the Texas Department of State Health Services ...

Aug 29, 2011 ... Day 29: The state has dramatically reduced support for nursing education, meaning Texas will continue to face a critical shortage of registered ... 

Mar 30, 2012 ... In response to mounting concern about Texas' nurse shortage, the Texas Legislature created TheTexas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies ... 

This is the best medical system in the world?  


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