By Brett A. Esrock, Glenn A. Robinson, Dr. T. Marc Barrett, and Dr. J.E. Morrison
We live in a great state. Our economic growth is unrivaled. Unemployment is consistently below the national average. We lead the nation in job creation. We have shown that doing things The Texas Way is the right way.
For all this greatness, however, we lag behind other states in one major area—a quarter of Texans have no health insurance . . . more than any other state in the nation.
Despite federal health care reform’s new coverage opportunities, the rate of uninsured in our state has barely budged. The latest estimate is that 23.5 percent of the state’s residents have no insurance, even though we have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. Hundreds of thousands of Texans are earning a paycheck but still lack access to health insurance because coverage is not offered as an employee benefit or it is simply unaffordable at their income level.
The federal government has indicated it is willing to work with us on developing a uniquely Texan, private market based coverage plan. Here’s what such an innovative healthcare plan could look like:
-Reduce the number of uninsured Texans.
-Improve statewide access to health care services for low-wage working Texans.
-Require personal responsibility.
-Promote responsible utilization of health care services.
-Promote primary care and prevention.
-Ensure state fiscal responsibility and efficient management of the program.