What Every Texan Should Know About Health Reform Implementation

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Anne Dunkelberg /(512) 320-0222 x 102

June 10, 2010

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There is much work to be done to educate fellow Texans about health care reform, protect it against attacks, and ensure strong implementation of new state roles.

Like the Social Security Act of 1935 and the Medicare Act of 1965, this new law is imperfect and will require revisions and updates. But it has codified into law two profound new principles for America’s health care system:

  • All citizens who contribute a reasonable share of their income to health care should be guaranteed access to a good standard of care and should be protected from financial catastrophe or loss of health care if their income or health status changes.
  • Our private health insurance marketplace must be open to and fairly priced for all, and must compete on the basis of efficiency, quality, outcomes, and customer service, instead of relying on avoiding risk for its profitability.

The importance of these two fundamental changes is difficult to overestimate. Still, the public remains divided on the law overall. But polls also find strong public support for many of the major provisions of health reform. When asked about 11 specific provisions scheduled to take effect this year, in each case, a majority of Americans viewed them favorably, many enjoyed bipartisan support.

This Policy Page provides a high-level outline of the key insurance coverage elements of the new federal law, noting areas in which estimates of the Texas impact are available.