Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, access to quality health care at a reasonable price is by far the number one issue I heard about from Central Texans. Texas has the highest overall uninsured rate in the nation, and the highest uninsured rate for kids. Both are more than double the national average. We have a rural health care crisis right here in our district. The hospitals in Milam County closed in 2018. Robertson County has only one general practitioner, Falls County only two.
It’s unacceptable and unnecessary. That’s why I support creating a public option to make Medicare available to all who want it.
A public option will:
- Achieve universal coverage – especially important in rural areas where the uninsured rate is high.
- Address uncompensated care for hospitals, a significant contributor to rural hospital closures.
- NOT eliminate private insurance. If you are happy with your employer sponsored insurance, you won’t be forced to give it up
- Preserve the protections for those with preexisting conditions achieved under the ACA
- Provide relief from the threat of medical bill-induced bankruptcy – the leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the US.
- Empower Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices.
A public option is a practical, achievable next step that will address many of the issues with our health care system.
The pandemic has laid bare the inequities and weaknesses of our health care system. In addition to expanding access to care and decoupling insurance from employment via a public option, I would work to build resiliency into our medical device and pharmaceutical supply chains by modifying the tax code and providing guarantees to encourage manufacturers to maintain a domestic manufacturing capacity capable of meeting demand surges in times of crisis.