Poll results show Texans’ health care concerns

The Texas Lyceum — a 30-year old statewide non-profit focused on supporting Texas’ next generation of leaders — puts out a poll every year to ask Texans how they feel about key issues and sundry political topics of the day.

The first results from the 2020 poll hit last week. Most of it focused on presidential politics and statewide approval ratings. But deep in the crosstabs, you’ll find information that demonstrates the urgency we feel at Texas 2036 to jumpstart a conversation among leaders and voters about the issues that will shape Texas’ future as the state approaches its bicentennial in 16 years.

Asked about the top issues facing the country, most Texans surveyed picked health care — the issue even beat out immigration and other national political news. As for the biggest issue facing Texas, health care was second behind immigration and tied with border security.

If you exclude younger Texans under 30, the issue is even more pronounced. Well over 10% of Texans over 30 who were surveyed picked health care as the top issue facing the country, and just under 10% said it’s the top issue facing Texas.

Those concerns are well-founded: even with its very strong economy, Texas faces health care issues that challenge the state now and will shape its future:

  • Health care expenditures in Texas have risen an average of 6.9% each year, yet Texas continues to rank among the bottom half of states in key health measures such as diabetes, cardiovascular deaths, child immunizations, and maternal mortality. 
  • A third of Texans are obese.
  • The percentage of low-birthweight babies has been increasing in Texas since the mid-1990s.
  • Mental health and substance use disorders now steal more years from Texans’ lives than any other disease.
  • Texas faces major health disparities that are tragic now and will become even more dangerous to the state as it becomes more and more diverse.

Such concerns haven’t blunted Texans’ economic optimism: nearly half of the respondents said the state’s economy is in better shape than the nation’s, and 46% think their children will be better off than themselves.

That optimism is one of Texas’ biggest strengths, and it’s what keeps us going here at Texas 2036. 

This state will add about 10 million people between now and the bicentennial — that sheer growth presents countless opportunities and challenges across issues ranging from health care and education to transportation and traffic, water supply, and government performance. 

But we deeply believe that when Texans have the facts about what’s coming, there’s no problem they can’t solve. This Lyceum poll represents just the latest datapoint showing Texans have a sense of the state’s current challenges and the ones that are coming. With their strong sense of optimism and all of the facts, we’re confident that they will conquer whatever is coming our way.