TPPF’s Tanner Aliff, Policy Director for the Center on Health and Families, testified before the Texas Senate Committee on Health & Human Services on innovative solutions to lower health care costs for Texans.

Full testimony below:

Thank you, Chair Kolkhorst, Vice Chair Perry, and members of the committee for taking the time to hear my public testimony.

Due to a host of short-sighted federal regulations, Texans are struggling under the weight of astronomical medical bills and ever-increasing premiums and deductibles.

Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the average Texas family has seen their health insurance premiums increase by 55%. Today, Texas families are paying, on average, over $21,342 per year in annual premiums alone.

To make things worse researchers at Johns Hopkins University are finding that nearly 60% of Americans with medical debt had health insurance.

The good news is, Texans don’t need to rely only on traditional health insurance to afford care.

There is a growing body of alternative coverage arrangements and cash-based health providers that are helping Texans save 300 to 1000% on out-of-pocket healthcare costs. Earlier this year, I had the privilege of convening over 30 CEOs and founders of innovative Texas companies who are excited about the opportunities presented by HB 2002, which you passed during the 87th Legislature.

The leaders of these innovative companies are doing things like: turning risk pools into medical bill sharing communities with crowdsourcing, cash-based urgent cares partnering with cash-based independent imaging centers to create an affordable continuum of care without needing health insurance, price transparency companies creating tools that show Texans where’s the best place to get a 5-star MRI for $297 instead of going across the street to a hospital for $3,000.

Because of your work on HB 2002, it’s provided patients with a new incentive to shop for affordable healthcare, and there are groups responding to that. I want to close with we do not have a shortage of coverage. We do have a shortage of providers, but what’s truly hurting Texas is that we have a lack of competition. More importantly, we have a lack of competition against competing differing models and the payment for our health care as well as the provision of our health care.