Small Steps Forward and Missed Opportunities in the 81st Texas Legislative Session Show Need for National Health Reform

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Stacey Pogue /(512) 320-0222 x 117

January 7, 2010

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Every legislative session, Texas legislators struggle to allocate sufficient state dollars to ensure public health. Because of our hit-or-miss approach to health care and our lack of an adequate state revenue system, a higher percentage are shut out of health insurance in Texas than in any other state in the nation.

The following report summarizes how health care fared in the 2009 legislative session. It shows how often Herculean efforts resulted in mostly slight improvements in our state’s public health care structures. For example, while the state took a few small steps forward in funding health care and access to coverage, the session was defined by the high-profile missed opportunities related to the CHIP program buy-in and the Texas Department of Insurance Sunset. Small steps forward are inadequate in light of the health care crisis in our state.