Part One: Three Reasons I’m Optimistic Texas Will Have Health Care Reform

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Despite the fact that legislation advancing healthcare died in Texas’ 83rd Legislature, and despite the lack of health care topics in the expanded “not so special” session after the Legislature’s allotted term, I’m still optimistic health care reform will succeed in Texas.

In an earlier post, we discussed the hope we have for a rational health care reform in Texas, saying:

“… leaders across party lines agreed on the need (and the business case!) for covering more of the 6 million plus uninsured in Texas. This is a positive sign and gives hope that support for rational care will ultimately prevail, and all Texans will have improved health care access.”

The first of the three reasons I’m optimistic Texas will participate in meaningful, effective health care reform, stems from the bipartisan support I’ve witnessed for Texas-style health care reform.

Not only have I been fortunate to participate personally in productive policy dialogues about the business case for making health care coverage affordable and accessible for all Texans, we have seen the subject gain momentum among diverse groups of leaders and constituents.

While some people would argue that covering all Texans is simply the right thing to do, others focus on bottom line benefits, including maximizing available federal dollars for Medicaid in an expansion that included private options.

For those looking at the financial benefits of covering the uninsured:

  • Healthier people are more productive, staying on the job and in school;
  • People with health insurance reduce the burden of uncompensated care (hospital ERs, etc.)
  • A highly respected study found that if Texas implemented a Medicaid expansion, Texas would gain more than $100 billion over the course of a decade, with only an estimated $15 billion investment.

Leaders on both sides of the aisle, in both deliberative bodies, agree that Texas benefits from healthier Texans. When we do the math, it is clear that covering everyone is good for all of us.

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