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Some healthy anger…

24 July 2007

So far, people have been as generous as they can, and I’ve ALMOST gotten through the present emergency (my small tax refund also came in, which helped). I’m still overdrawn at the bank, it’s the end of the month and I have to start thinking about next months bills (and catching up the last three months worth of underpaid bills).

If the Mex Files is to survive at all, let alone continue to stay healthy (never mind me), the financial support has to be there.

If you prefer to send a check, money order or make other arrangements, please write me at “richmx2 -AT- excite -DOT- com” and include “Mex Files” in the subject line.

This bus happens to be from Peru, but the same basic model will be rolling on the streets of Mexico City soon. It’s such a great idea that the Federal Government is also buying these buses… though they’ll be painted PAN blue (subtle, subtle).

It’s only a bus, so what’s the big deal? They’re mobile medical clinics with a doc or clinical nurse and small lab for EKGs and prostate examinations.

As one of the 45 million uninsured U.S. citizens, and am doing without even basic diagnostic tests, I have to wonder why politicians feel obligated to yack and yack and “promise” something so basic. What a bunch of clowns! Heck, I’m not even talking about end-stage care or hip replacements. Just preventative medicine. It’s not that hard to figure out.

Mexican health care isn’t the best, but it’s better than none. Even Peruvian health care is better than absurdities like the one Megan Wilde writes on in this week’s Marfa (TX) Big Bend Sentinel:

More than 100 low-income, immigrant women in the area may soon have to travel to Odessa or El Paso for family planning services.

For more than 25 years, low-income women have been able to get free birth control, annual gynecological exams, pap smears and prenatal care at local Texas Department of State Health Services clinics. But DSHS is notifying local clinics to stop providing these services after August 31. Brewster and Presidio county clients are being referred to other local doctors for free family planning and women’s wellness services, but for non-U.S. citizens, these services may only be available in El Paso and Midland-Odessa.

… undocumented immigrants, or legal immigrants who entered the U.S. after August 1996, won’t qualify for the new Medicaid Women’s Health Program.

Until now, local clinics provided family planning and wellness services to these women through a federal funding program called Title V. But local clinics will soon stop receiving this type of funding, and these clients must be referred to the nearest Title V providers, which are in El Paso and Midland-Odessa.

Local clinic staff estimated more than 80 Presidio women, 20 Marfa women, and 50 Brewster County women won’t qualify for the new Medicaid Women’s Health Program.


Alpine clinic nurse Susan Bell serves women throughout Brewster County, but the majority of her Title V clients are in Terlingua and Lajitas.

“We’ve been providing this service for years and years,” she said. “There are a lot of these people that we’re their safety net; we’re the ones they can rely on. They won’t have that anymore.”

For south Brewster County women, and women in Presidio, making a 500-mile roundtrip to Odessa or El Paso would be a hardship.

Local clinics will still be able to provide condoms through the HIV/STD program, as long as funding is available for that program.

But clinic staff predict that more women will get pregnant if they have to go to Odessa or El Paso for family planning services. And if these women do get pregnant, the local clinics will no longer be providing prenatal care.

“It’s a vicious circle getting ready to form…”

100 women may not sound like a lot, but the two counties combined are a little over 15,000 people in total (and a lot of them are retirees who presumably don’t need pre-natal care and birth control). Brewster County is “wealthy” by comparison to Presidio. Brewster only has a 20% poverty rate; Presidio’s is close to 50%.

Poor U.S. citizens can go across the border to Ojinaga for their health care. Who will pick up the funding if the state cuts back is probably… us? Ironically, if a poor Mexican resident of the U.S. uses the Mexican health care system, they may never be allowed back in the country where they work, and where their children are citizens. I can at least drive the 90 miles to Mexico for a prostate exam.

It’s closer to 700 miles round-trip from Marfa to Midland than 500. The least expensive gas I’ve seen is in Alpine, $3.14 a gallon.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 8 August 2007 9:11 pm

    Awesome post. Mexico has some amazing medical care. Tijuana is crawling with low-cost MRIs, alternative cancer clinics, etc… they are so friendly too!

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