Texas is Dead Last in Healthcare Accessibility

Texas has the largest uninsured population in the country. That’s both embarrassing and disgusting, and fixing it deserves our highest priority, even if it means major leadership changes in Austin. Remember that when you vote, because lives depend on it.

I believe we must work to ensure that everyone has access for affordable, high-quality health-care. Making sure people don’t lose their homes or face financial ruin after an unfortunate accident or illness should be a goal of all of us. At least it is for me.

SOME FACTS

  • The average American spends nearly $10,000 per year on personal health care, and it’s much higher in Texas. We rank 44th in the nation in healthcare cost, and we’re dead last in accessibility, according to a nationwide study by WalletHub of 35 measures of healthcare cost, accessibility and outcome.
  • That’s largely because Republican leaders in Texas refused to accept the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, turning down “an estimated $100 billion in federal cash over a decade” while our hospitals have to absorb $5.5 billion/year treating uninsured people.
  • Without major reforms, healthcare spending will continue to increase, because 11,000 baby boomers are turning age 65 every day. They’re living longer but with more chronic illness.
  • Already, our country spends over $3.5 trillion/year on health care, which is nearly twice as much as other advanced nations pay per capita, yet we have worse outcomes by almost every measure, including longevity.
  • That spending is projected to reach nearly $5.5 trillion in 2025, or nearly 20% of GDP.
  • One big driver of the escalating costs is the aging population, but that’s a global trend and no excuse.
  • The health reform debate in Washington is intensely political, done in secret with no public hearing to understand all stakeholder perspectives, and focused only on how and who PAYS. We seem to have lost sight of how to reduce overall costs, such as by dramatically improving the efficiency and effectiveness of care delivery, or reducing the need for care in the first place through wellness programs.
  • With the right political leadership, we “should” be able to cut our healthcare costs in half to match what others pay, at least if we also reign in the intense political lobbying by wealthy special interests that represents an industry one fifth the size of our entire economy.
  • Doing that – cutting spending in half – would save over $1.5 trillion/year, and that could then be used for other purposes. We could cut taxes, pay down debt, fund strategic investments in education, research, healthcare innovation, infrastructure, and more.

 


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