In 2018, for the tenth straight year, Texas has the most uninsured residents at 22.5 percent (Gallup). The state of Texas faces many issues each day but one that is constantly a problem is the issue of health insurance. A Healthline article states “you don’t want to be sick in Texas” because of how Texas has one of the worst health care systems in the U.S. The issue of healthcare is controversial across the nation, but with how poor Texas’ healthcare system is the issue is especially pressing for the government of Texas to address. In this report I will go over how Texas treats the issue of healthcare through the policies they support and the overall access Texas residents have to healthcare. Through my research I learned that Texas is one of the worst states in the country when it comes to healthcare. I also found that Texas has the least accessible healthcare out of all fifty states (San Antonio Bus. Journal). Since Texas is a predominately red state the issue of healthcare, like many other issues, much of this report will have republican ideals behind the decision making of healthcare in Texas. Throughout this report I will explain how Texas is attempting to make healthcare overall better for their residents through different types of policies and legislations they support, and what kind of healthcare exactly that the Texas government supports for their residents. The topics I will go over in this report will include: the background of Texas healthcare, opinions from journalists pertaining to healthcare in Texas, the reports about healthcare in Texas from the media, government documents that the Texas Government has passed relating to healthcare, and how the Texas Republican and Democratic parties view the issue of healthcare.
The issue of healthcare in Texas begins with the number of uninsured residents there are. According to the Texas Medical Association there are more than 4.3 million residents in Texas without health insurance and the uninsured rates are 1.75 time the national average. One big reason why there are so many uninsured people in Texas is because Texas did not expand Medicaid coverage in part with the Affordable Care Act. The Texas Government is extremely opposed to the ACA and they even have attempted to sue the federal government arguing that the act is unconstitutional. Many residents in Texas rely on Medicaid and with the Texas government resisting to expand it, it is leaving those people without any health insurance. Without the expansion of Medicaid, the Texans, who are in poverty and rely on Medicaid, have no other option for affordable health insurance. When people don’t have health insurance they resort to going to the hospital when they need fundamental care, leaving people with more urgent conditions having to wait longer. The people who cannot afford health insurance include people who cannot private health insurance, people who work for small business that do not offer their employees health insurance, and people who are not enrolled in government sponsored programs but are eligible. Typically, these types of people include, according to the Congressional Budget Office, people in poverty, young adults, Hispanics, part time workers, and people who are in poor health. Texans who work are the least likely in the country to have health insurance from their employer, because Texas ranks 49th in the country with the number of residents who have health insurance from their employment (Texas Med. Assoc.). Healthcare has been a large part of the Texas state budget with almost half of the budget, $42.9 million, being devoted to healthcare (Comptroller. Texas). Another reason why many residents in Texas are uninsured is because of the cost. According to a study done by Rice University, 70 percent of the people who are uninsured in Texas say it is because of how expensive insurance is. Having health insurance is very important because it prevents you from paying higher prices when something unexpected happens, jeopardizing your health. People with health insurance tend to be healthier and are less likely to suffer from financial hardship. This is why Texas having the most uninsured residents in the country is very alarming, because without health insurance people are more at risk of receiving less medical care and more at risk of having financial difficulties.
The Texas Government makes many decisions each year about their health insurance policy which determines what Texas residents have to pay for insurance health, the quality of insurance, and the access of it, all of which could impact resident’s health. The Texas Government also faces many difficulties when it comes to health insurance including: the number of uninsured residents in Texas, the rising cost of health insurance, and access to care. Texas has tried to address the issue of health care in Texas by passing legislation and court decisions that formulate how the state government views the issue. The HB21 bill that was passed by the Texas Government shows that Texas is taking interest in making sure teachers have more affordable health insurance since their salaries aren’t enough to pay for more expensive health insurance that was previously in place. What this bill also did was made Texas schools more attractive to work at for teachers so in result it insures that Texas gets the best educators because of the better insurance in place. The court case of Reddic V E. Tex. Med. involved a visitor at the hospital slipping on the floor and injuring herself. Reddic sued the hospital but the hospital brought it to court because they say it was a health care liability claim under the Texas medical liability act. The court found that the hospital was liable for the injury because the correct safety processions weren’t in place. This shows that the Texas government keeps people reliable for the injury of others. This is so that people get the necessary health insurance when the fault of the injury is of someone else. The other court case I found was PHCC-La Hacienda Rehab. & Health Care Ctr. LLC v. Crume which was a dispute between a nursing home worker and a nursing home. The nursing home worker claimed to have been injured while repairing a microwave but the nursing home argued the worker did not follow correct safety percussions. The court ruled that the microwave was not essential to the functioning of the nursing home so they must be reliable for the injury. This once again shows that the Texas Government is taking steps to keep companies reliable and making sure people get correct compensation for their injuries. If they didn’t do these things people would be stuck paying for their own injuries with their own insurance (or if they don’t have any at all, out of pocket) and letting the companies get off without any consequences. The Texas Government makes a lot of decisions each year that collectively make an impact on the type of care you can get.
The topic of health care is very polarizing, people tend to think about it black and white while usually siding with whatever political party they associate with. I reviewed three article editorials that had differing opinion about healthcare which helped me gain new perspectives about the issue. The first article, “Why wait on Washington to improve health care in Texas? Step up, Austin”, discusses how the senate failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act and how the government is trying to stabilize the health care market. The author describes how Austin needs to step up and make changes to health insurance in Texas. The author argues that Austin should revisit Medicaid expansion because many another state have expanded Medicaid and their health insurance is improving. They also point out that Austin is leaving 1 billion dollars of federal money on the table and are not taking advantage. The second article, “Improve Healthcare Access”, discusses hoe healthcare access needs to be improved in Texas and “SB 681 and HB 1415, introduced by state Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, and state Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, deserve a fair and complete hearing this session.” The author points out how people who want to start their own clinic must have doctor supervision and shell out a lot of money to get it started. The bills that the author promotes would end both of those requirements and would improve access to health care all over Texas. The author points out that nurse practitioners in California, who did away with those requirements, has doubled over 4 years. The third article, “Lawsuit to Kill Obamacare Would Hurt Many Texans, Too”, talks about how Attorney General Ken Paxton opposes Obamacare and how that is causing many republican state generals to follow him and tear apart the bill. The author talks about how congress attempted to get rid of Obamacare but they have heard that many Texans view the bill as a “lifeline”. The author points out how many Texans disprove of Obamacare but that if it was gone many Texans would be negatively affected by it. They also argue that lawmakers need to be the ones who decide how to improve healthcare because they have the power to improve while congress can only “strike things down”. Before researching health insurance in Texas, I really did not have an opinion about the issue but now after learning the impact that it has on so many people and hearing other people’s views about it, it has helped me formulate my own thoughts. The third opinion article impacted my view in the way that people who cannot improve health need to leave the decisions up to the people who can improve. They pointed out that congress can’t improve anything and they can only shut things down and that lawmakers need to be the ones who decide how to improve healthcare. This really resonated with me because the Texas government needs to be productive and not useless. I also did not know that there are such strict requirements to start a clinic in Texas and that many talented people in the medical field aren’t being used because they can’t meet those requirements. So, I believe that Texas needs to approve the bills that get rid of those requirements that the author discussed in the second article. The access of health care is another big problem that Texas faces. There are many instances where families have to travel long distances to get the care they need because they do not have a hospital advanced enough near them to take care of their problems. I believe that there needs to be more funding towards hospitals because that could provide a big boost in accessibility and alleviate many families struggles when it comes to care. I also hadn’t realized that the people in Austin could do so much with healthcare but they have not done it yet that the first article discussed. Since there is a billion federal dollars not being used and Austin could do something about, I now believe that they should.
Texas has one of the worst overall health insurance systems among all fifty states and Texas has a long way to go to better the system for their residents. The issue of health insurance is very complicated with no easy or simple solutions. It takes a combined effort from both parties to agree on a solution that would benefit the Texans whom they serve. Out of all the problems there are with the current health care system I think everyone would agree that the most important one to them when thinking about health insurance is the cost of it. Often times people do not usually know where the best price is for healthcare services and end up paying a lot more than they could have. Something that could be done is to advertise costs of healthcare more simply so that consumers can make the most informed decisions for themselves. Another way that we can drive down the cost of healthcare is to increase the competition of health care providers. If healthcare providers do not have any competition they are able to drive the prices up however much they please and it also leads to worse care for patients. More competition would mean better quality care and cheaper costs for patients. I we allowed the federal government to negotiate the drug prices would also limit the cost because companies would not be able to set their own prices. Ways I can try to make some of these ideas become reality is voting for people running for government that hold the same ideas about the issue. Informing people and encouraging them to vote for candidates that have health care as one of their top priorities once they get into office are ways to influence the government. Getting health insurance is something that I will soon have to deal with and do not want to drain my pockets trying to get it. People living in Texas were surveyed and they believe that Texas State legislators should make health care a priority for the state (Texas Tribune). This shows that health care is something that is important to a lot of people in Texas and people need to raise their voice to have a chance of making any changes to Texas’ health care system.
- Aron-dine, Aviva. “Health Care: Issues Impacting Cost and Coverage.” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 11 Oct. 2017, www.cbpp.org/health/health-care-issues-impacting-cost-and-coverage.
- Ehrenfeld, Temma. “Why Texas’ Healthcare System Is One of the Worst in the Country.” Healthline , 16 Nov. 2017, www.healthline.com/health-news/texas-healthcare-system-one-of-the-worst-in-country#1.
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- Wang, Jackie. “Obamacare in Texas Faces Massive Cuts to Outreach Funds by Trump Administration .” Dallas News, 19 July 2018, www.dallasnews.com/business/health-care/2018/07/19/obamacare-texas-faces-massive-cuts-outreach-funds-trump-administration.
- Evans, Marissa. “Poll: Texans Say Legislators Need to Make Health Care a Priority.” The Texas Tribune, Texas Tribune, 14 June 2018, www.texastribune.org/2018/06/14/poll-texans-say-legislators-need-make-health-care-priority/.
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