Texas Top Five: Key Steps to Make the Most of Health Reform

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Anne Dunkelberg /(512) 320-0222 x 102
Stacey Pogue /(512) 320-0222 x 117

January 7, 2011

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What do we want Texas to be? A state that won’t squander an opportunity to properly implement the new health reform law.

The new law changes the health care landscape in Texas. It is an important tool Texas can use to achieve our own health policy goals, such as increasing coverage, improving transparency and quality, and controlling costs.

The law provides substantial federal funding to support fundamental improvements in Texas’ health care system, but leaves key policy decisions and implementation of health reform largely up to us. Ultimately, decisions made by the Texas Legislature and state agencies, including the Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Department of Insurance, will determine Texas’ success.

If we don’t take a strategic approach to implementing the law, maximizing new policy changes and federal funding to create a high-performing health care system that delivers quality care to Texans and serves as a model to the nation, we will squander an opportunity.

Inaction will result in barriers to coverage, less-coordinated and lower-quality care, a less healthy population, and uncontrolled health care costs that take a toll on Texas’ families, employers, and the state budget.

This report identifies decisions that Texas must make to properly implement health care reform and explains what’s at stake for us.