While we generally love being at the top of every ranking, the latest findings from The Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHCRQ) are a little harder to swallow.
According to the 12-item federal scorecard, the great Republic of Texas ranked "Weak" or "Very Weak" in nine of 12 categories, including Preventive Measures, Home Health Care Measures and Hospital Care Measures. Texas finished 51st in the country overall — not only behind every other state, but also Washington D.C., for health care.
Texas recorded 31.61 points (out of a possible 100) on the ratings.
The one category Texas received a "Good" rating on from the AHCRQ was for Maternal Health and Child Health Care Measures.
Maybe the federal government is just out to get Texas, but there is no denying that we have the highest percentage of uninsured citizens of any state in the country. According to the Texas Medical Association's latest count, the current estimate is about five million Texans have no access to health insurance, as high as one in three people in major cities like Austin and Houston.
Texas has also been in the news over the past year regarding the highly public defunding of Texas Planned Parenthood offices and other low-income women's health providers largely due to the abortion debate.
When Gov. Rick Perry proposed a law to exclude Planned Parenthood from future state funding, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services supplied pressure by announcing it would in turn cut off all funding to Texas' family planning efforts. Thankfully, the funds are in position for now, but the future looks a bit bleak.
Ironically though, the one category Texas received a "Good" rating on from the AHCRQ was for Maternal Health and Child Health Care Measures.
Clearly, we've got some work to do. But first we need a bit of an attitude adjustment. And the best way I know to do that is to see who we're up against in the rankings and appeal to some Texas pride.
After all, filling out the top of the bottom with Texas on the rankings are second-worst Kentucky (with two "Average" rankings above us) and third-worst New Mexico (with three "Average" rankings). Even West Virginia and Oklahoma ranked higher than us.
So if we're going to make it back up to the top of the herd, we need to start making some serious changes. Only 50 places to go . . .
You gotta love an underdog story.