Texas House passes health care reforms to create low-cost options for uninsured

AUSTIN – The Texas Public Policy Foundation applauded the Texas House for passing bipartisan legislation to open new options for those who are struggling to afford or don’t have health insurance. A decade after the passage of Obamacare, 63 percent of Texans say the cost of health insurance and prescription medications are the most frustrating part of our healthcare system.

The bills, which all passed with significant majorities, would allow certain member organizations – like The Farm Bureau, Texas Mutual, and Association Health plans – to create customized health benefit programs for individuals and families.

These programs are an alternative to Obamacare, which has resulted in skyrocketing insurance premiums and high deductibles.

Despite being eligible for some form of government assistance, like Medicaid or tax credits, more than 70% of uninsured Texans don’t enroll in the programs. Even with access to free or deeply discounted insurance, they still can’t get care.

“Texas is leading on a solution to improve access to affordable health care that can help all Texans, especially the uninsured,” said TPPF’s Director of Right on Health Care David Balat. “This approach will help eliminate the ‘coverage gap,’ offer affordable benefits, and improve access to care, while not bankrupting the state through misguided failed policies like Medicaid expansion. These new models have not only proven effective in other states but shown that the fears of operating outside Obamacare have not materialized. Finally, the bipartisan support for these reforms demonstrates that no one side has a monopoly on good ideas. Chairman Frank and Chairman Oliverson deserve thanks for making sure Texas can bring together the Texas House to pass substantial reforms that will help millions of families.”

Despite broad support for these reforms, some who still support the broken policies of Obamacare have resorted to bad faith arguments to maintain the status quo.

However, the reality is:

  • Patients with pre-existing conditions will still have access the Obamacare exchanges if that’s what they prefer. Patients who explore the new options could see a short waiting period during which they can still maintain their current insurance. In Tennessee, for example, nine out of ten patients who applied for the Farm Bureau program were accepted.
  • There are no evidence association health benefit plans “cherry-pick” patients or that having customizable benefits lead to higher costs for anyone. In fact, Obamacare plans are prohibited from being flexible and health care costs, insurance premiums, and deductibles have all still increased dramatically.
  • The new reforms would likely cover significantly more patients than Medicaid expansion. The Farm Bureau alone already covers nearly half a million patient families, which includes more than a million individuals. Expanding these health options would benefit an estimated two to three million more patients.

The bills are HB 3923, 3924, and 3752.

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  1. TPPF? The Koch Brothers’ brain child you mean. The organization that attracts climate deniers, embezzlers and racists.
    At any rate, republicans in Texas’ refusal to expand Medicaid is the reason the bills are needed, and it is is simply a lie that they would cover more patients than Medicaid expansion. Expanding Medicaid would have filled coverage gaps for almost two million low-income Texans. Still a far cry from the nearly 5 million that don’t have coverage but it would have been a good start. Texas has some of the highest numbers of uninsured children in the nation.
    American Care Act (ACA) plans are not prohibited from being flexible and they have not been the cause of increased premium rates. “…post-ACA premium increases have been rather modest compared to those prior to ACA implementation.” -Daniel Kurt April 4, 2021
    Texas has the largest number of people without insurance in the United States. The pandemic is devastating the people in our state who are uninsured and if you think that health insurance companies will not deny people’s claims due to pre-existing conditions if there is no mandate not to, you are delusional.
    This and other politically biased articles you continually publish leaves me no choice but to conclude you are an unreliable news source.

    1. Was the name calling really necessary? You give no evidence of it.

      Moreover, your “estimate” is that expanded Medicaid would help 2 million Texans. They estimate is that their plan would help 3 million. So, this plan can fall short by a full third and still achieve your goals. I want the option most likely to help the greatest number of people.

      Finally… Who is Daniel Kurt, and where did that quote come from? Neither Google nor DuckDuckGo return any results. So again, you’re sitting on an unsubstantiated claim.

      – Robert Holeman

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