Providing health coverage to more Texans

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A statewide task force of healthcare leaders is recommending that Texas “expand health insurance coverage through a negotiated alternative to Medicaid expansion” under the Affordable Care Act.

Those recommendations complement a separate proposal underway, called the the Texas Way, a private-market-based coverage plan using available federal funds to expand coverage to more than a million Texans. A coalition of healthcare organizations and businesses is promoting the Texas Way as a politically viable plan that incorporates traditional Texas values such as personal responsibility, incentives to work and cost-sharing.

The latest report from the Code Red Task Force on Access to Health Care in Texas, a group created by 10 Texas academic health institutions a decade ago, is charged with studying ways to provide health coverage to more people. With about one-quarter of its residents lacking health insurance, Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured in the nation.

Among the task force’s members, including George B. Hernandez Jr., president and CEO of University Health System, are representatives from universities, hospitals, the business community, insurers and consumers.

Among the recommendations:

  • Expand health insurance coverage through a negotiated alternative to Medicaid expansion under the ACA, designed to meet Texas’ unique needs by benefitting from Texas’ share of available federal Medicaid funds so more low-income, working Texans have access to health care and realize better health status.
  •  Develop effective, efficient health care delivery systems throughout Texas.
    • Extend/renew the current Medicaid 1115 Waiver.
    • Expand behavioral health care and integrate it with primary health care.
    • Expand the health care workforce in response to community need.
    • Support continued federal funding of Federally Qualified Health Centers.

You can find the entire 2015 Code Red report here.