El Paso-centric info and commentary from the Center of North America

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


Written by newspapertreeelpaso

July 6, 2009 at 12:36 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. sorry sito, the “crap” that people eat is way much cheaper than the healthy stuff. Shop some time and see. Or an even better exercise, imagine you are diabetic and see how that grocery tab adds up. I agree that the insurance folks want the big bucks, but in the end, the only solution is SINGLE PAYER.


    July 6, 2009 at 8:58 pm

  2. Mike, you’re probably right that the crap is cheaper. I’ve done the outside v. the middle aisles thing. I wonder how much the subsidy for corn and wheat promote that. Another thought: I had a Lone Star card a few years ago. Couldn’t buy fresh fruits or vegetables with it, and only a very small selection of other foods. Maybe that’s changed. I hope so.


    July 7, 2009 at 9:49 am

  3. Ahhh Sooo, Sito, even if you did not read my forwarded, “From the Desk of your Regional Nutritionist, Subject: Preventing Obesity: The High Cost of Poverty,” you right on! Call me! Lisa has my contact info. Keep on pushing! -chester-

    Chester L. Bryant

    July 7, 2009 at 10:24 am

  4. I live in a city neighborhood this is good for walking and really appreciate it. It’s hard to get out after working all day but I feel safe on my streets and I can usually invent an errand that justifies a walk.
    Unsafe city streets or suburban isolation work against getting exercise. And it’s true that junk food is cheap, convenient and satisfies craving for a while. Burger Hell is always having dollar specials.


    July 7, 2009 at 9:04 pm

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