Poll: Texans want government involved in health care

Published 9:01 pm Sunday, April 21, 2019

By Mark Richardson

Texas News Service

HOUSTON – An overwhelming majority of Texans believe that state government needs to take a major role in making the health-care system work well. 

According to recent polling by the Episcopal Health Foundation, at least eight of 10 Texans want the government to play a significant role in a functioning health-care system.
Brian Sasser, chief communications officer with the Episcopal Health Foundation says in a recent poll, Texans prioritized health-care issues second only to increased spending on public education.
“A majority of Texans believe that their government has a role in making sure the health-care system works,” says Sasser. “Lowering the price of prescription drugs, lowering health-care costs and increasing access to health insurance are kind of recurring themes with what the health priorities for the Legislature should be.”

Sasser says more than half of the Texans polled believe lawmakers should increase access to health insurance, work to lower the overall cost of health care, increase funding for mental-health programs, and reduce the number of women who die from childbirth. 

A majority say Texas is not doing enough to provide low-income adults with access to health care, specifically calling for the state to expand access to Medicaid.
Sasser says that despite the ongoing uncertainty, more than 1 million Texans enrolled in the Affordable Care Act for health insurance in 2019. 

“What’s clear about this is what’s at stake if the Affordable Care Act was to go away in Texas,” says Sasser. “And that’s that 1 million people who currently use that for their health insurance would have to look for other options or most likely have no other options.”

He adds that Texans responded strongly when asked about keeping protections for people with a pre-existing condition in place.

“It was a big number; 88% of folks that we polled said that they believe that pre-existing conditions should be covered,” says Sasser. “It kind of went across political and demographics and income levels and all that.”

The Episcopal Health Foundation funds programs and research to improve the health of residents in 57 counties in central, east and southeast Texas.