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Texans know a Personal Option in health care is right for them

Jan 18, 2023 by AFP

Texas is booming. Between 2010 and 2020, the population expanded 16% — a rate twice the national average.

But the influx has put added stress on an already-taxed health care system.

Texas has one of the highest uninsured rates in the country and is 41st of 50 states in terms of the number of physicians per capita. As a percentage of income, insurance premiums are the highest in the country. Residents also carry heavy medical debt.

But AFP offers another choice: The Personal Option, which would lower costs, improve access, and address the state’s clinician shortage.

When it comes to health care, bigger is not better

A panel from AFP-Texas' Personal Option health care event. The panel featured AFP-Texas State Director Genevieve Collins, state Rep. Matt Shaheen, and AFP-Texas Policy Director Sam Sheetz.

September 23, 2022 – Frisco, Texas: AFP State Director Genevieve Collins, State Rep. Matt Shaheen, and AFP-Texas Policy Director Sam Sheetz discuss Personal Option health care solutions that will give Texans more choice and control over their health care.

The 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) was supposed to help young people by keeping them on their parents’ insurance until they turned 26.

Treyson, a professional bull rider who was kicked off his parents’ insurance on his 26th birthday, told AFP-Texas the ACA exchange has been one of his more difficult challenges.

The closest doctor on 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 discovered the office was in “an old shack” with a leaking roof.

“There has 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 quality, affordable care from doctors they trust,” said AFP-Texas’ Director of Public Affairs Mary Kate Korinek. “Every individual is different and unique and should be able to choose the health care that’s right for them.”

What is the Personal Option?

October 11, 2022 - Collin County, Texas: AFP-Texas Engagement Director James Mayville discusses the Personal Option with State Rep. Matt Shaheen and the Collin County Young Republicans over dinner.

October 11, 2022 – Collin County, Texas: AFP-Texas Engagement Director James Mayville discusses the Personal Option with State Rep. Matt Shaheen and the Collin County Young Republicans over dinner.

The Personal Option is a set of changes that would transform the U.S. health care system from one that frequently erodes human dignity and offers only a one-size-fits-all solution to one that honors 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’s right for them.

“Texans love their freedom,” Korinek said, and the Personal Option would:

  • Allow individuals and small businesses to band together to buy insurance
  • Expand access to Health Savings Accounts
  • Reduce prescription drug prices and improve price transparency
  • Enhance access to short-term health plans, which are typically 50-80% more affordable than traditional insurance
  • Let nurses deliver care they’re trained for and allow clinicians to practice across state lines
  • And more

A key component is to expand 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 provide more affordable prescription drugs and lab services.

Frontier founder, Dr. Peter Lazzopina, started the practice to provide better access to care to the underserved border community. Frontier is able to provide quality service at lower costs by cutting out the middle man — insurers — and negotiating directly with companies that provide treatments and lab work.

Health care is very different from health coverage,” said Frontier CEO Bibb Beale. “We’ve seen people who have health coverage like Medicaid who still seek out Frontier because their coverage is not care. It’s easy to get Medicaid, but just because you have a card doesn’t mean you’re getting an appointment — at least anytime soon.”

AFP-Texas gives voice to frustrated Texans

AFP-Texas has held several events to hear from residents about their health care concerns.

One mother’s story is especially harrowing. When Kim Costa’s infant son was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder, she found there was not one specialist in the entire state who could help. The family had to travel to Minnesota to get quality care.

Many states refuse to recognize clinicians’ out-of-state licenses, a problem that constricts the supply of care available to patients. The personal option includes reforms that would allow doctors and nurses to practice across state lines.

The personal option also calls for expanding access to telemedicine so families like the Costas could check in with specialists in other states without having to get on a plane.

The Texas legislature begins its next session this month and AFP-Texas will share stories like Treyson’s, Kim’s, and Bibb’s with lawmakers.

The future of health care is here. Share your story on AFP-Texas' Personal Option page to improve health care in Texas.

Share your story with us today to help improve health care in Texas.