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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Employers Can Influence Legislature on Prioritizing Healthcare Needs

Click to hear the taped broadcast.

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

The 83rd Texas Legislature convenes this month, and the 113th Congress also begins its work in Washington, D.C. Both will confront significant challenges about healthcare that will impact business and the economy in Texas.

I urge all employers to make your voices heard as policy-makers address critical healthcare issues. The debate over the Affordable Care Act continues. In Texas, one of the challenges will be implementation of health insurance exchanges required by the federal law.

The exchanges should be flexible enough to address local needs and encourage private insurers to participate. They will also balance the key objectives of pooling risk and managing public subsidies.

We also believe the Texas Department of Insurance needs greater regulatory authority to enable more employers and insurance carriers to provide affordable health care coverage. Health plans should also develop and maintain adequate networks of physicians and other providers to reduce consumers’ out-of-pocket costs.

Another challenge for Texas is that we rank fifth from the bottom in the ratio of physicians to residents. We urge employers to support legislation to enhance funding for educational programs to reduce the shortage of physicians, nurses and allied health professionals.

Make your voice heard, and together we can improve the health of the people in the communities we serve.

For our faith-based health system — Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Harris Methodist and Texas Health Arlington Memorial — I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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