At Texas 2036, we believe reliable, credible data should drive decisions about public policy and the investment of taxpayer dollars. And some of the most compelling, informative data out there about Texas and its challenges relate to Texans’ health.
Some of the debates surrounding health care policy have become rather familiar, and maybe even a little redundant. For years, there has been talk about whether Texas should expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, for example. Nationally, there has been no shortage of attention spent on how to lower prescription drug prices.
These are all important discussions that will surely continue. But in order to build consensus around the best solutions for our long-term future, we can’t just hop from one isolated policy debate to the next. Instead, we must begin with a thorough understanding of Texans’ health outcomes and disparities. And we must recognize that, even at this time of overwhelming economic success for Texas as a whole, our population continues to struggle with numerous health challenges.
Texas 2036 has compiled a significant amount of data to help shape and drive the conversation around health in Texas. We believe that conversation should focus on helping Texans get and stay healthy. While health insurance and access to health care certainly improve outcomes, personal behaviors and socioeconomic factors drive outcomes as well.
The challenge is to identify solutions that improve health, whether that means additional investments in physical and mental health care, or greater integration of health-focused activities and services at public schools, or policies that incentivize healthy behaviors and decisions. This quest for such solutions will shape our work and conversations with Texans as we prepare to roll out our Strategic Framework — which will lay out long-term policy goals in health and our five other areas of focus — and advance a policy agenda for when the Texas Legislature meets in 2021.
The future health of our fellow Texans is not about one policy debate or a single statistic. Rather, it’s about a wide-ranging look at how we leverage resources, actions, and strategies to give Texas a healthier — and brighter — future.