Is Massachusetts a Model for Texas?|
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I’m Doug Hawthorne, president and CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”
In April, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney signed legislation making his state the first in the country to require people to carry health care insurance – in much the same way Texas requires drivers to carry liability auto insurance. The landmark Massachusetts law, which is designed to make insurance more accessible for those who can pay and free or subsidized for those who can’t, would result in health care coverage for all Massachusetts residents by July 2007.
Would such a plan work in Texas where the scope of the problem is significantly larger? Massachusetts has approximately 1 in 10 people who are uninsured, while Texas has 1 of every 4 residents without insurance, the highest rate in the nation. And, Texas leads the country with the highest percentage of uninsured children, at an estimated 21 percent.
One thing is clear: If we do not reverse the growth of the uninsured population, we put all Texans at risk for a decline in access to quality health care.
Would a Massachusetts-style plan work in Texas?
It gives us a place to start. We need a dialogue among businesses, consumers and policy makers, all working together in the public interest, to find a solution that’s right for Texas.
For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based hospitals – Harris Methodist, Presbyterian and Arlington Memorial – I’m Doug Hawthorne.