Make Health Insurance More Affordable: Texas Hospitals Urge State

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Texas Affordable Health Insurance

As the nation prepares to mark Cover the Uninsured Week, the Texas Hospital Association is urging lawmakers to take meaningful steps to make health insurance more affordable and accessible in Texas - which has the highest rate of uninsured residents in the country.

Cover the Uninsured Week is observed nationally to highlight the importance of access to affordable health care benefits. In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry has localized the awareness effort by proclaiming April 23-29 as Cover the Uninsured Week in the Lone Star State.

"Everyone pays the price when individuals, families and small businesses cannot afford health insurance," the Governor's proclamation states. "The increasing costs of uncompensated care place a strain on Texas hospitals, other health care providers and on the quality of care every patient receives. Texas recognizes the urgency to take meaningful steps to make health insurance more affordable and accessible."

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Nearly one-fourth of Texas residents - about 5.5 million men, women and children - are uninsured. The uninsured rate in every major Texas city is higher than the national average, and Texas' share of uninsured children, more than 25 percent, also is higher than the national average. In 2005, eight of 10 non-elderly uninsured Texans came from working families -- nearly 70 percent from families with one or more full-time workers.

This growing health care crisis affects not only uninsured Texans, but also the health care and pocketbook of every other resident in the state, said THA President/CEO Dan Stultz, M.D., FACP, FACHE.

"Texas hospitals are working with our elected officials in the battle to provide health care coverage to more Texans through the private sector as well as state-funded programs such as Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program," Stultz said. "We know that access to affordable health insurance affects all Texans -- because we all pay the price when Texans don't get the care they need."

In addition to working to reverse cuts in Medicaid and CHIP funding and restore provider reimbursement rates, Stultz said THA supports a number of private-sector measures this legislative session to increase the number of Texans with health insurance coverage. These include:

  • H.B. 882 by Rep. Elliott Naishtat/Rep. John Davis (S.B. 922 by Sen.
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