Because of rising health care prices and relatively poor care outcomes, finding good value in health care remains one of Texas’ most profound challenges.
Physical and mental health directly affect our productivity and quality of life. Good health results from a wide range of factors, including health care affordability, access, and quality, as well as non-clinical factors, such as socioeconomic status, contextual factors, and health behaviors.
Health care prices in Texas are unaffordable and continue to rise at unsustainable levels. Total health care spending for Texans enrolled in employer-sponsored plans – nearly half the population – averaged more than $5,800 in 2019, the third-highest among Peer States. Price increases have made care unaffordable, even for the insured: Over half of Texans with health insurance report skipping care due to cost. Meanwhile, 18% of Texans lack any health insurance, creating substantial financial challenges for this population.
At the same time, health care availability, outcomes, and system quality need improvement. Only 67% of Texans have a dedicated health care provider, and 14% of Texans report being in poor or fair health. Meanwhile, among 12 peer states, Texas ranks just sixth in the percentage of seniors discharged from the hospital who are readmitted within 30 days.
All policy is health policy. While improving access and affordability of quality care is important, so much of what impacts overall health is related to day-to-day factors: what kind of job you have, where you live, the air you breathe, the food you eat, and the water you drink. By making meaningful improvements in education, workforce, infrastructure, and natural resources, we can have a significant impact on the health of Texans.