The Attack

Without a doubt, Texans are healthier than they have ever been. More than that, health in Texas has improved significantly since George W. Bush became governor in 1995. Look at these statistics:

• In 1994 there were 13.8 cases of tuberculosis per 100,000 Texans, but in 1999 there were only 8.2.

• In 1994 7.2 infants died per 1,000 live births. In 1997 6.3 died.

• In 1994 there were 129 cancer deaths per 100,000 Texans. By 1997 that number had dropped to 122.8, which was less than the national average of 125.6.

• In 1992 we had only 179 physicians per 100,000 residents. By 1998 that number had grown to 226.

• In 1992 there were 123 teenage pregnancies per 1,000 women. By 1996 that number had dropped to 113.

• In 1994 14.4 percent of adults said they had not seen a doctor in the past year because of cost. By 1998 that number had dropped to 12.7 percent.

Where did these statistics come from? I read them in an article on the front page of the New York Times on April 11. Interestingly, the point of the article was exactly the opposite of the one it’s possible to draw from those statistics. The headline of the article was “Bush and Texas Have Not Set High Priority on Health Care.” The article begins, “Texas has had one of the nation’s worst public health records for decades. More than a quarter of its residents have no health insurance. Its Mexican border is a hotbed of contagion. The state ranks near the top in the nation in rates of AIDS, diabetes, tuberculosis and teenage pregnancy, and near the bottom in immunizations, mammograms and access to physicians. But since George W. Bush became governor in 1995, he has not made health a priority, his aides acknowledge. He has never made a speech on the subject, his press office says.” How can it be that a news story comes to such harsh conclusions when facts cited in the story can lead to the opposite conclusion?

The answer is simple. George W. Bush, the governor of Texas, is running for president. As the campaign wears on, this is the kind of story that Texas is certain to be subjected


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