Healthy markets: Getting Texans the health care they need
For far too many Texans, health care has become unaffordable—to the point of being unobtainable. Here’s a look at our treatment plan, a diagnosis of what’s driving higher health care prices and concrete steps that policymakers can take today to address high prices across Texas.
Healthy markets: Health care access for Texans 🏥
Setting the stage: Barriers to affordable health care are preventing Texans from accessing needed care, contributing to unhealthy outcomes and high rates of medical debt.
- The high price of health care—even among those with insurance—is causing more than half of Texans to skip the care they need.
Cause for concern: These prices are partly the result of unhealthy markets created by anti-competitive practices.
- 61% of Texas’ population lives in “highly” or “very highly concentrated” hospital market concentration, as compared to 3% in California and 10% in Illinois.
Did you know: Nearly one-third of Texas adults—6.2 million Texans—have unpaid medical bills.
- Average annual premiums to cover a family on employer plans in Texas are more than $20,000—that’s one-third of the average Texas household’s annual income.
Moving forward: Addressing health care trends
Time for change: There is strong demand for the Texas Legislature to lower the cost of health care, which they can address this legislative session with House Bill 711.
- With healthy markets, Texans are able to get the care they need, when they need it, at a price they can afford.
Breaking it down: Healthy markets must be informed, competitive and engaging. This means:
- Informed markets need transparency: Too many Texans still can’t get meaningful price estimates in advance of medical services.
- Competitive markets provide choices: Texas’ hospital market consolidation is well above the national average.
- Market engagement requires smart incentives: Currently, employers and health plans can be prevented from providing incentives that reward customers for choosing lower-cost, higher-quality options.
👉 Dive deeper: Health price transparency: A timeline and explainer
Taking action: Texas legislators have been adopting measures around hospital price transparency and elimination of surprise medical bills. Here’s what the 88th Legislature can do:
- Build upon existing price transparency requirements.
- Eliminate restrictions preventing disclosure of quality information.
- Address the growing impact of consolidation and market power.
- Limit the potential of private equity from adding hidden fees to your bill.
- Ensure when health benefit plans encourage enrollees to obtain a health care service from a particular provider that they do so for the primary benefit of the enrollee.
Spotted at the Capitol 🏛
Last week, Senior Policy Advisor Charles Miller testified before the Texas House Select Committee on Health Care Reform in favor of House Bill 711.
The bill offers a solution to anti-competitive contracting and conduct affecting health care provider networks.
🎥 Watch his testimony: Texas 2036 addresses one of the underlying causes of high health care prices in TX
It’s your turn, Texas!
Have you experienced high health care prices? 🧐