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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Access to Health Care: What the American Public Expects

Click to listen to the taped broadcast.

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

According to a survey by the American Academy of Family Physicians, people overwhelmingly say that everyone should have access to affordable health coverage. But the number of uninsured keeps climbing.

Two major factors are the decline of employer-sponsored health coverage, and the lack of adequate federal and state funds to help off-set losses by local health care providers who treat the uninsured.

According to a Kaiser Commission report, uninsured people under age 65 increased by nearly six million between 2000 and 2004. The Code Red Report, by the Taskforce on Access to Health Care in Texas, says 79 percent of the uninsured adults in Texas are in working families.

Much of the care received by the uninsured is provided through the network of providers referred to as the “safety net.”

The federal commitment to the health care safety net has not kept pace with the growth in the uninsured. Future allocations for Medicare and Medicaid appear unlikely to reverse this trend. If safety net resources continue to decrease as the number of uninsured increases, care provided to the uninsured could be jeopardized, with negative consequences on their health and the productivity of the workforce. Clearly, we as business and community leaders, must collaborate to find solutions.

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

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