No Work Houses, But There Are Clinics
Earlier this week, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett made an attempt to break out of his Ebenezer Scrooge mold when he signed a law that is designed to bring health care to the “underserved” population of the commonwealth. I say tried, because the measure — when compared to other policy tools that are available today — falls a little short.
Corbett signed the measure - which will allocate $4 million into community health centers in rural areas of the state that are otherwise underserved by the health care industry — at a ceremony at Crozer Chester Medical Center in Chester. Officials proclaimed that the funding will increase access for residents in such areas. Corbett himself was quoted as saying that health care resources in the state “mean nothing if the citizens can’t get access to them.” I couldn’t agree more with this statement, but his following statement left me a bit slack-jawed: “This helps ensure medical access to tens of thousands of people.”
Tens of thousands of people? Really, governor? Only TENS (capitalization mine) of thousands, considering that there are 3.5 million people living in the state's 48 rural counties (the remaining 19 must be centered around the urbanized areas of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Scranton-Wilkes Barre, Allentown, and Harrisburg), which are theoretically part of the underserved. (Source: US Census Bureau, as cited on email@example.com). Did I say that the governor’s measure falls a little short? Perhaps I was just under-exaggerating a bit!
This anecdote makes me grateful that Corbett was never a firefighter. This guy would bring a small paper cup of water to a four alarm conflagration!
A union representing registered nurses, who were also in attendance at the signing ceremony, pointed out that the available federal money to expand Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act would ensure healthcare to HUNDREDS (capitalization mine) of thousands of Pennsylvanians. Okay, this is a little better, but it won’t happen as long as Ole Tom lives in the governor’s mansion. He has turned down expanding Medicaid in Pennsylvania.
Boo, nurses unions! How dare they ruin Corbett’s triumph? Boo!
News reports about the bill signing mentioned that Corbett has sought to close 26 clinics in the state because they served far fewer people. The state Supreme Court has stopped that action for the time being with an injunction brought on by a lawsuit filed by a nurses union.
Yea, nurses unions! Way to stand up to Corbett’s measly crumb throwing at the poor!
The governor maintains that his plan is better. It is part of an effort to streamline care in underserved areas through the use of health fairs and traveling nurses. I will admit that health fares are nice for taking vital signs and performing other preventative testing, but health fares are extremely temporary. They are open maybe one day a month. What about the other 29 days? What happens when Farmer Brown gets his forearm ripped out of its socket in an agricultural accident? Wouldn’t he be better served for emergency aid by a full-time clinic?
So, sorry, Tom, we can’t allow you to make a clean break from the Dickensian stereotype to which we have condemned you. Nice try though! You nearly had us convinced that you had the wealth-challenged close to your heart. You may want to try again.
(Thank you for reading. Yes, there are no work houses in Pennsylvania, but we do have a clinic…such as it is!)