Texans know that a personalized healthcare option is right for them
18 January 2023 by AFP
Texas is booming. Between 2010 and 2020, the population expanded by 16% – a rate twice the national average.
But the influx has put additional strain on an already burdened healthcare system.
Texas has and is one of the highest uninsured rates in the country 41st of 50 states in terms of the number of physicians per capita. Like a percentage of income, insurance premiums are the highest in the country. Residents are also carrying heavily medical debt.
But AFP offers another choice: the in-person option, which lowers costs, improves access and addresses the state’s physician shortage.
When it comes to healthcare, bigger is not better
The 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) was supposed to help young people by keeping them on their parents’ insurance until age 26.
Treyson, a professional bull rider who was kicked off his parents’ insurance policy on his 26th birthday, told AFP-Texas the ACA exchange was one of his more difficult challenges.
The nearest doctor to his plan was more than an hour away and he had to wait three weeks for an appointment. When he arrived for his checkup, he found that the office was in “an old shack” with a leaking roof.
“There’s got to be something better,” Treyson said.
There is, and AFP-Texas is on a mission to educate state residents about the Personal option.
“All Texans should have universal access to high-quality, affordable care from doctors they trustsaid Mary Kate Korinek, AFP-Texas Director of Public Affairs. “Every individual is different and unique and should be able to choose the care that suits them.”
What is the personal option?
The personal option is a series of changes that would transform the US health care system from one that often violates human dignity and offers only a one-size-fits-all solution, to one that respects patient choice.
According to Korinek, it would empower people to take charge of their health care, remove barriers to care and free them to seek the care that is right for them.
“Texans love their freedom,” Korinek said, and the personal option would be:
- Let individuals and small businesses work together to purchase insurance
- Expand access to Health Savings Accounts
- Reduce prescription drug prices and improve price transparency
- Improve access to short-term health plans, which are typically 50-80% cheaper than traditional insurance
- Allow nurses to provide the care they are trained to provide and allow clinicians to practice across state lines
- And more
Great event on #healthcare policy along @MattShaheen last night! We talked about forward thinking solutions that will promote free market principles in healthcare to give Texans more access to care at a price they can afford! #PersonalOption pic.twitter.com/4nnQLJcvuf
— AFP–Texas (@TexasAFP) September 23, 2022
An important part is expanding access to direct care clinics. These clinics, like Frontier Direct Care in the Rio Grande Valley, offer unlimited access to primary care and preventative services for a flat monthly fee and also offer less expensive prescription drugs and lab services.
Frontier founder Dr. Peter Lazzopina, started the practice to provide better access to care for the underserved frontier community. Frontier is able to provide quality service at a lower cost by cutting out the middleman – insurers – and negotiating directly with companies that provide treatment and lab work.
“Healthcare is very different from health insurancesaid Bibb Beale, CEO of Frontier. “We’ve seen people who have health insurance, like Medicaid, still look to Frontier because their coverage isn’t care. It’s easy to get Medicaid, but just because you have a card doesn’t mean you’ll get an appointment — at least soon.
AFP-Texas gives voice to frustrated Texans
AFP-Texas has held several events to hear residents about their healthcare concerns.
A mother’s story is especially distressing. When Kim Costa’s young son was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition, she discovered there was no specialist in the entire state who could help. The family had to travel to Minnesota to receive quality care.
Many states refuse to recognize out-of-state clinicians’ licenses, a problem that limits the care available to patients. The personal option includes reforms that allow doctors and nurses to practice across state lines.
The in-person option also requires expanding access to telemedicine so that families like the Costas can check in with specialists in other states without getting on a plane.
The Texas legislature begins its next session this month and AFP-Texas will share stories like those of Treyson, Kim and Bibb with lawmakers.
Share your story with us today to help improve healthcare in Texas.