I’m Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”
The dust is settling now that the Supreme Court upheld the healthcare reform law. I’d like to share some thoughts on what it means for Texas. I continue to believe that the most effective health care reform will happen through collaboration at the local level among health systems, physicians, employers, payers and policy makers. When we set aside politics, we can collaborate on solutions that will meet the health needs of all our people.
Twenty-seven percent of the Texas population — more than one in four people — do not have medical insurance. In North Texas, that figure hits 30 percent. 1.2 million children in Texas have no medical insurance. Forty percent of mothers-to-be in Texas do not receive appropriate prenatal care because they lack insurance. That in turn increases the number of babies who end up in neonatal intensive care units, which can be very expensive.
Since the Supreme Court ruling, state executive and legislative leaders have gone on record stating that Texas will not expand Medicaid coverage. If this is the case, it is imperative that our elected officials develop policies and programs that help communities address the growing number of Texans who lack appropriate access to primary care and insurance coverage. This is a critical issue that cannot be ignored.
For our faith-based health system — Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Harris Methodist and Texas Health Arlington Memorial — I’m Doug Hawthorne.