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The State Of Texas Health

Texas Public Radio
Exercising at San Antonio's Siclovia event.

This Week On Texas Matters:

Texans like hearing about how wonderful and exceptional our state is, but a recent ranking of states based on health has the Lone Star State in a less than mediocre position. Texas was ranked 36th in the nation, down from 35th a year ago.

In particular, the study showed Texans still have a higher rate of physical inactivity, obesity, and diabetes than the national average.  Texas was also rated down because of its high rate of people without health insurance and a 12% decline in the past year in children's immunizations. 

Dr. Harvey Balthaser is the medical director for South Texas for United Healthcare.

Assessing The Affordable Care Act Rollout In Texas

Texas might do better in the health rankings next year because more people in Texas have purchased health plans through the Obamacare online insurance marketplace than in any other state.

That is according to enrollment figures for October and November released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

But when you look at this as a percentage of the uninsured the number is tiny – that’s because so many Texans are without health insurance.

Nevertheless – many are encouraged that Texans are signing up given the political climate in the state against the ACA. And getting people to sign up for the ACA is critical for Texas hospitals.

John Hawkins is the vice president of public policy for the Texas Hospital Association.

Cornyn's Challenge

The deadline to sign up for a primary election has passed in Texas and we now know who will face who for their party’s nomination and as you would expect most of the action in Texas is with the ruling Republican party. The match-up that nabbed the most newspaper ink was Tea Party Congressman Steve Stockman’s challenge to Conservative Senator John Cornyn. We turn Harvey Kronberg for his analysis.

Kronberg is the editor of the Quorum Report – an impartial online newsletter that covers Texas Politics – it’s at www.quorumreport dot com.

The Perfect Christmas Tamal

Credit Pixeltoo / Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
Tamales... mmm good.

For many in Texas, tamales are as big of Christmas tradition as eggnog – caroling and fruitcake. And it’s not just the consumption of the corn husked morsels but the family endeavor to make them. TPR contributor Yvette Benavides explains the 16 items that are essential to making the perfect Christmas tamal.

Yvette will be making tamales again this Christmas with her family in Laredo.

Yvette Benavides' essay on the Perfect Christmas Tamal.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi