Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation released Episode 2 of its “Patients First” animated video series highlighting new solutions to provide affordable health care for millions of uninsured Texans. It addresses a common misconception that the majority of people without insurance fall within the so-called “coverage gap.” Research shows in Texas those in the gap make up a small percentage of the uninsured. Instead, the vast majority of the uninsured are those who have access to low- or no-cost insurance but choose not to take it.
“So why would someone who is eligible for insurance that is basically free or deeply discounted not take advantage of it?” the narrator asks. “Because even with these forms of insurance, they still can’t get the care they need. Long wait lists, reduced access to doctors, lack of prescription coverage, and high out-of-pocket costs are all deterrents to enrollment in these programs.”
Several solutions to addressing the problems of the uninsured passed with bipartisan support during the most recent Texas legislative session.
As the video describes, “Some thoughtful solutions to this problem are beginning to form which would allow organizations to customize plans for each individual patient or family. New models would allow patients to choose the services that work the best for them. And, since patients would only pay for what they need, costs would come down. Doctors and providers are more open to these arrangements because they come with less bureaucracy and allow doctors to spend more time focused on their patients.”
The new options for the uninsured represent a significantly better solution than expanding a poorly-performing program like Medicaid, which already does not serve current recipients well and would result in crowding out low-income women and children and the disabled from access.
“Texas has taken strong steps to help the uninsured by creating new models for healthcare benefits that better serve patient’s needs,” said TPPF’s Director of Right on Health Care David Balat. “These new models can serve two to three times the current population in Texas who would be covered by Medicaid expansion. And they don’t come with all of the problems that Medicaid expansion states have seen, like cannibalizing resources from education and public safety.”