McAllen doctor: Poor folk don’t have ‘the luxury of prevention’
An article in New Yorker Magazine that has become an important part of the health care discussion nationally focused on health care costs in McAllen, with a little comparison of El Paso. Click here for more background on that.
In the Dallas Morning News last week, columnist Jim Landers continued the discussion. Please read the entire article yourself to see what jumps out. But this was the quote that jumped out at me:
“The uninsured and underinsured do not have the luxury of prevention,” McAllen internist Linda Villarreal said. “We have epidemic morbid obesity and epidemic diabetes. We have individuals who are not getting health care until they turn 65 and get that little [Medicare] card.”
My thought was this: Prevention, especially of the diseases mentioned in the quote, ought to start with eating right and getting a bit of exercise, neither of which ought to cost much more to do than eating crap and sitting around. If poor folk want to keep from spending so much on health care they can’t afford, prevention is not a luxury, it’s a necessity, and that’s where the largest effort and the most money ought to be. I get the feeling that the problem with the health care system is that it’s so much more about the money than the health that it’s a systemic preference to go for an expensive pound of cure than a cheap ounce of prevention.
— Sito Negron