Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Texas Has Highest Maternal Mortality Rate In The Nation

The chart above was made from figures (rounded to the nearest whole number) in a study done for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. It shows that the maternal mortality rate in the continental United States (and the District of Columbia) has been slowly climbing since 2000. That's troubling for a nation that claims to have the best medical system in the world. Obviously, our "great system" is not reaching all Americans -- and we need to address that.

But there is a state that is currently much worse than any other state -- Texas. From 2000 to 2010, the rate varied in Texas, but the trend line would put it about the same as the other states. But the maternal mortality rate shot up drastically after 2010, and remains far too high -- about 10 points higher than the rest of the states.

One would be tempted to blame Texas' failure to expand Medicaid, but over 20 other states did not expand Medicaid and their rates haven't risen like the rate in Texas. Could it just be an error in the data collection? That was checked and it was ruled out. The what happened in Texas?

It turns out that was the time when Texas Republicans decided to save some money -- and they decided to do it on the backs of the poor. They cut funding for women's health clinics by a whopping 66% -- evidently not caring that these clinics (many which were forced to close) were the only health care choice that many poor women had available. When these clinics closed, or had to cut back on the care they provided, that denied care to many poor women -- and they had no place to turn since the state refused to expand Medicaid.

We have known for a while now that the Republicans don't believe in equal rights for women. But the Texas Republicans denial of healthcare for poor women (so they could gives more tax breaks to corporations) establishes a new low in misogynistic heartlessness.

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