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Webinar Recap: Healthcare the Texas Way

Last Wednesday, the North Texas Commission kicked off the 2015 season of the Topic: North Texas presented by Verizon webinar series with John Hawkins from the Texas Hospital Association. The Affordable Care Act and healthcare are anticipated to be key topics in 84th Session of the Texas Legislature. The Texas Hospital Association, provider networks, communities and business groups are urging the Texas Legislature to facilitate a discussion with the federal government about providing the state flexibility to create a Texas-specific solution to expanding health insurance coverage in the state.

Why is this important to North Texans?

Nearly 20 percent of uninsured Texans have no access to affordable coverage through their employers and are not income-eligible for public coverage.  The result is more than 1.1 million uninsured, low-wage working Texans relying on hospital emergency departments for acute care. This care costs Texas hospitals more than $5.5 billion each year. Some of this unreimbursed cost is shifted onto the privately insured who pay higher insurance premiums and to local property owners who pay higher taxes. Texas employers pay a price too because an unhealthy workforce has reduced productivity and increased turnover. A strong state economy requires a Texas Way that will increase access to coverage and reduce inefficient health care spending.

The Texas Way would be a private insurance program for low income earners who do not have access to public or private insurance. Such an approach could include:

  1. Subsidized coverage in the private market based on an individual’s ability to pay.

  2. Health savings accounts, deductibles and co-payments to incentivize the appropriate use of medical care and wellness.

  3. Incentives to seek employment if unemployed.

  4. Financial penalties for inappropriate use of hospital ERs for non-emergent care.

  5. Personal accountability for health and wellness.

  6. A coverage option through small-employer subsidies to encourage Texas small businesses to offer health insurance as an employee benefit.

  7. A transparent process to evaluate the potential reduction in local property tax burden.

The Texas Way is not Medicaid, and it is not a government handout. It helps low income earners learn more about their choices and connects 1.1 million people with private insurance. It works through using health savings accounts and required co-payments at the time of service. The Texas Way has penalties for using the emergency room for non-emergencies and incentives to work and meet health care benchmarks. The entire state would benefit with a healthier workforce, less uncompensated care and financial relief for the privately insured and property tax payers.

To watch the recording, CLICK HERE

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