Statement Of Hank Gilbert Regarding Majority Leader Reid’s Public Option Announcement

Posted on 10/26/2009. Filed under: 2010 elections, Hank Gilbert, texas politics | Tags: , , |

TYLER-Hank Gilbert (D-Whitehouse), a candidate Texas Governor, issued the following statement regarding the announcement by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that the Senate would go forward with healthcare reform legislation which includes a public option:

“Contrary to the rightwing noise-boxes that manage to get themselves on television and radio in Texas, Texans overwhelmingly favor legislation which would include a public option.

The Senate’s bill contains provisions which will allow states to “opt out” of the public option. What this means for Texas largely depends upon who the governor is and the make up of the Texas Legislature after the plan passes. If we have Rick Perry, Kay Bailey Hutchison, or any of my other opponents, it will be nothing more than remaining at the status quo for us.

I favor the public option. Due to monopolies in many states and other non-competitive practices, there is no other realistic way to force the insurance companies to actually increase efficiency. There is no other way to make sure that everyone has access to affordable coverage which must be a key in any plan to unburden local and state governments from having to pay for indigent care.”

FACT SHEET

Texas Can’t Wait For Healthcare Reform

This information is taken from the U.S. DHS’s website HealthReform.gov

  • The status quo is not an option. The number of uninsured in Texas has increased from 4.9 million in 2001 to 6.1 million in 2008. The percent of non-elderly adults without insurance increased from 27.8% to 32.1%. And this number only considers people who are uninsured for an entire year – it does not include people in Texas who have more recently lost coverage through the recession, or who had shorter gaps in their coverage.
  • Private coverage is eroding under the status quo. The percentage of people with employer-based coverage decreased from 63.3% of the population in 2001 to 55.6% in 2008.
  • More workers are being left without protection from health care costs. Too many workers in Texas do not have health coverage, at 3.4 million in 2008. And the proportion of workers from Texas without insurance has increased, from 25.6% in 2001 to 29.7% in 2008.
  • The problem of the uninsured is a problem that crosses income brackets. The new Census numbers also drive home the fact that everyone in Texas is vulnerable to losing health insurance. An additional 361,000 people from high-income households are now uninsured.

The Health Care Status Quo: Why Texas Needs Health Reform

Congress and the President are working to enact health care reform legislation that protects what works about health care and fixes what is broken. Texans know that inaction is not an option. Sky-rocketing health care costs are hurting families, forcing businesses to cut or drop health benefits, and straining state budgets. Millions are paying more for less. Families and businesses in Texas deserve better.

TEXANS CAN’T AFFORD THE STATUS QUO

  • Roughly 12 million people in Texas get health insurance on the job1, where family premiums average $13,525, about the annual earning of a full-time minimum wage job.2
  • Since 2000 alone, average family premiums have increased by 104 percent in Texas.3
  • Household budgets are strained by high costs: 17 percent of middle-income Texas families spend more than 10 percent of their income on health care. 4
  • High costs block access to care: 20 percent of people in Texas report not visiting a doctor due to high costs. 5
  • Texas businesses and families shoulder a hidden health tax of roughly $1,800 per year on premiums as a direct result of subsidizing the costs of the uninsured. 6

AFFORDABLE HEALTH COVERAGE IS INCREASINGLY OUT OF REACH IN TEXAS

  • 25 percent of people in Texas are uninsured, and 75 percent of them are in families with at least one full-time worker. 7
  • The percent of Texans with employer coverage is declining: from 57 to 50 percent between 2000 and 2007. 8
  • Much of the decline is among workers in small businesses. While small businesses make up 70 percent of Texas businesses,9 only 32 percent of them offered health coverage benefits in 2006 — down 5 percent since 2000. 9
  • Choice of health insurance is limited in Texas. HCSC (Blue Cross Blue Shield ) alone constitutes 39 percent of the health insurance market share in Texas, with the top two insurance providers accounting for 59 percent. 10
  • Choice is even more limited for people with pre-existing conditions. In Texas, premiums can vary based on demographic factors and health status, and coverage can exclude pre-existing conditions or even be denied completely.  11

TEXANS NEED HIGHER QUALITY, GREATER VALUE, AND MORE PREVENTATIVE CARE

  • The overall quality of care in Texas is rated as “Weak.” 12
    Preventative measures that could keep Texans healthier and out of the hospital are deficient, leading to problems across the age spectrum:

    • 20 percent of children in Texas are obese. 13
    • 25 percent of women over the age of 50 in Texas have not received a mammogram in the past two years.
    • 44 percent of men over the age of 50 in Texas have never had a colorectal cancer screening.
    • 66 percent of adults over the age of 65 in Texas have received a flu vaccine in the past year. 14

The need for reform in Texas and across the country is clear. Texas families simply can’t afford the status quo and deserve better. President Obama is committed to working with Congress to pass health reform this year that reduces costs for families, businesses and government; protects people’s choice of doctors, hospitals and health plans; and assures affordable, quality health care for all Americans.

(This information is taken from the U.S. DHS’s website HealthReform.gov.)

ENDNOTES:

1 U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey. HIA-4 Health Insurance Coverage Status and Type of Coverage by State–All Persons: 1999 to 2007, 2007.
2 Center for Financing, Access and Cost Trends, AHRQ, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey – Insurance Component, 2006, Table X.D.
Projected 2009 premiums based on Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “National Health Expenditure Data,” available at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/nationalhealthexpenddata/.
3 Center for Financing, Access and Cost Trends, AHRQ, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey – Insurance Component, 2000, Table II.D.1.
Center for Financing, Access and Cost Trends, AHRQ, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey – Insurance Component, 2006, Table X.D.
Projected 2009 premiums based on Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “National Health Expenditure Data,” available at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/nationalhealthexpenddata/.
4 Center for Financing, Access and Cost Trends, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, 2006.
5 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Data. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2007.
6 Furnas, B., Harbage, P. (2009). “The Cost Shift from the Uninsured.” Center for American Progress.
7 U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey. Annual Social and Economic Supplements, March 2007 and 2008.
8 U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey. HIA-4 Health Insurance Coverage Status and Type of Coverage by State–All Persons: 1999 to 2007, 2007.
9 Center for Financing, Access and Cost Trends, AHRQ, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey – Insurance Component, 2006, Table II.A.1a.
10 Center for Financing, Access and Cost Trends, AHRQ, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey – Insurance Component, 2001, 2006, Table II.A.2.
11 Health Care for America Now. (2009). “Premiums Soaring in Consolidated Health Insurance Market.” Health Care for America Now.
12 Agency for Health Care Research and Quality. 2007 State Snapshots. Available http://statesnapshots.ahrq.gov/snaps07/index.jsp.
13 Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative. 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health, Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health.
14 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Data. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2007.

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