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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Health Care Should Dominate Legislative Agenda

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I’m Doug Hawthorne, president and CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

The Texas Legislature begins its 80th session in January, addressing many of the same challenges that face Congress and the Bush administration.

As in Washington, lawmakers here expect a session focusing on job growth, border security and financing for health care.

State lawmakers and incumbent Governor Rick Perry – fresh off election year victories – indicate that health care will be one of their priorities next year. It certainly deserves attention.

I have some suggestions for the issues that should top their list of priorities:

  • Reduce the number of uninsured; one in four Texans is uninsured.
  • Reform Medicaid and CHIP so that low income Texans have appropriate access to medical care.
  • Encourage measures that help providers improve the quality of care.
  • Implement broad-based, meaningful reforms that promote accountability and transparency in health care.
  • And reduce the shortage of nurses and allied health workers.

Texans believe health care is a critical issue. People want a system that provides coverage for everyone, and they are willing to discuss a broad range of ways to get there. Our lawmakers should feel compelled to do the same. We can meet these challenges through the collaborative efforts of business leaders, policy makers, consumer advocates and health care providers.

For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based hospitals – Harris Methodist, Presbyterian and Arlington Memorial – I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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