Monday, February 2, 2009

Credit where credit is due

This will someday be the kernel for a lengthy post on my now-just-in-the-conception-phase public health and medical sociology blog, but for now, I'll do a short blurb on the subject... 

I know loads of public health specialists who are thanking the Almighty that the Republicans are no longer in power (perhaps for good reason). But out-going president (as in exiting, not as in gregarious) president George W. Bush deserves some credit for some substantial progress: he has doubled Federal funding for public health centers. This makes him responsible, says the New York Times, for "enabling the creation or expansion of 1,297 clinics in medically underserved areas." Quoting the Grey Lady:
For those in poor urban neighborhoods and isolated rural areas, including Indian reservations, the clinics are often the only dependable providers of basic services like prenatal care, childhood immunizations, asthma treatments, cancer screenings and tests for sexually transmitted diseases.

As a crucial component of the health safety net, they are lauded as a cost-effective alternative to hospital emergency rooms, where the uninsured and underinsured often seek care.

Despite the clinics’ unprecedented growth, wide swaths of the country remain without access to affordable primary care. The recession has only magnified the need as hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost their employer-sponsored health insurance along with their jobs.

In response, Democrats on Capitol Hill are proposing even more significant increases, making the centers a likely feature of any health care deal struck by Congress and the Obama administration.
So the Democrats are going to expand on what Dubya built, got that? And let's not forget to mention Bush's efforts to expand anti-AIDS funding (even if it gets mixed reviews because it includes abstinence education).

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