Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hard Times

The fiscal disaster facing the states means more than potholing roads and laid off teachers and cops, and other unpleasant consequences that get public attention. The states are responsible for most of the public health effort in this country, and public health is getting slammed. Brian Rosman of Health Care for All -- Massachusetts runs it down for the People's Republic. Not pretty:

Public health programs took wrenching cuts. The House Ways and Means proposal calls for cutting nearly a quarter of the DPH budget compared to the FY09 budget, and some areas were cut deeper. Compared to FY 09, these are the budget cuts proposed in the following areas:

Health Promotion/Disease Prevention – 50%
Oral Health – 41%
Domestic Violence Prevention and Services – 37%
Smoking Prevention and Cessation Services – 37%
Infection Prevention and Control Program – 32%
Early Intervention, a cost-effective program serving children birth to three with developmental delays – 27%
School Health Services – 23%
Teen Pregnancy Prevention – 22%
Substance Abuse Services – 21%
Communicable Disease Control Program and State Laboratory – 15%

Now, think about it. What happens when you have more infectious disease, more domestic violence, more people smoking, more pregnant teenagers, more substance abuse, more kids who hit school age with developmental delays . . .

You spend more money on health care, you have a less productive workforce, you have more kids who fail in school, you have more social pathology, more crime and more people in jail, and you are a poorer and meaner and sadder society.

In the meantime, the people who work in those programs are out of work, which means they can't spend at local restaurants and stores and the state collects less in taxes as a result and so on and so forth. So, Cato Institute psychos and self-destructive teabaggers:

We need to spend in deficit now in order to make the investments that are necessary to pull the country out of recession in the short term, and prevent long term damage to our society that will make us worse off in the future and make it that much more difficult to pay off the debts we have already incurred. Teabag that.


janet said...

The biggest reason our healthcare spending is out of control is that people refuse to take responsibility for their own health. They have unhealthy eating habits, don't exersize, and then run to the doctor for tests and drugs to fix their high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, etc.

Cervantes said...

Well, as I've written here before, I don't think it's really that simple. I agree that people should try to live healthier lifestyles and take charge of their own health, but external forces are just as important as our free will -- food industry marketing, sedentary jobs, unsafe neighborhoods, and a whole lot more. That's why investing in health promotion and disease prevention, to encourage and support people in living healthier lives, pays off.

C. Corax said...

Perhaps if schools had adequate funding, they wouldn't have to prostitute themselves to various corporations in exchange for children's souls, bodies, and minds (e.g Sugar Drinks International giving money in exchange for the right to put vending machines of flavored corn syrup throughout a school).

We state employees are going to get slammed by having our share of health insurance doubled, which is a big deal for the average state employee (average pay is under $40,000; average retirement is $23,000). We're not all Bulgers, you know? Meanwhile, our legislature axed Patrick's proposed tax increase on soda, alcohol, and candy. Says the Patriot Ledger: "Candy, soda and alcohol taxes would generate $121.5 million in fiscal 2010, the administration said. That would go into a wellness fund and be spent on programs including health care and addiction treatment."

Changing subjects back to a few posts back, I cannot remember where I read about the study of pollution effects in men vs women, but I did find this one article. I wish I could track down the original article!

kathy a. said...

well, talk about anecdotal -- my BP meds hardly count as a drop in teh health care bucket. i went "running off to the doctor" because i was/am in the very fun situation of having hot flashes from hell that keep me from sleeping at night, and also needing a new diaphragm because i have not yet achieved blessed menopause, plus i needed advice about an abnormality in my mammo. the HBP diagnosis was an unexpected development. my hormonal changes are not treatable via hormones, because of my sister's particular type of breast cancer.

yes, i could do better on eating, and have been watching sodium like a hawk now. could also do more exercise, since my work involves sitting around in offices and sometimes courtrooms. my good cholesterol and hemoglobin are just excellent, thank you, and bad cholesterol is OK. a significant factor in my HBP is family history.

sorry, but i do not accept personal responsibility for health care spending being so high.

kathy a. said...

oh, back to the point. i'm distractable right now. public health programs don't need cutting. they have barely operated at minimums for too long.