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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Texas Plans for Uninsured

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.”

As I’ve mentioned several times on this program, Texas has the highest rate of uninsured people in the country. We rank 47th in terms of health status. The governor and the Legislature must address the crisis of the uninsured and underinsured because it impacts the cost and quality of care for all Texans.

Recently, Gov. Rick Perry unveiled his proposal to make health insurance coverage available to more working families in Texas.

The governor’s “Healthier Texas” initiative would create a funding pool to subsidize the purchase of insurance by working Texans with income below 200 percent of the federal poverty level – that’s $41,300 for a family of four. The state would provide monthly premium assistance payments of as much as $150 per person, depending on family earnings.

The funds would come from a $2.7 billion endowment established from the proceeds of the sale of the Texas Lottery.

Regardless of the outcome of the debate, the governor deserves credit for recognizing that the state has a role in helping make health insurance more affordable and accessible, and for his bold, innovative thinking. This proposal is working toward the right goal — creating stable funding sources to provide care for more Texans.

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

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