My wife, Dawn, works for the Weekley Family YMCA as Wellness and Marketing Director. Today, she attended the Houston Wellness Association meeting that was held in partnership with Harris Co Healthcare Alliance (1).
The main focus of the meeting was Healthcare Reform. Here are some of the highlights she shared with me:
- There are 1 million uninsured in Houston, 6 million in Texas
- 80% of the 1 million uninsured in Houston fall below the federal poverty level
- Healthcare spending represents 17% of the GNP
- This week's election could result in a mandate against Healthcare Reform
- 1/2 of Healthcare Reform is funded by Medicare cuts
- Healthcare Reform is rolling out in phases. Phase I (the phase we are currently in) deals mostly with compliance issues
- A major topic of interest is how "Pay or Play" will effect employers and employees
- The financial system for funding Healthcare Reform is unsustainable. The deficit is too high and Medicare is the largest single threat to the federal budget
- Issues never dealt with in the original legislation include illegal immigrants and patients that cannot afford to pay (the law states that medical facilities must provide treatment regardless of someone's ability to pay)
- The current health insurance market and regulatory structure has resulted in coverage predominantly for healthy (and wealthy) people
- Texas has the highest rate of uninsured in the nation. 25.7% of the population, >30% of which are in Houston
- Most industry leaders believe current Fee for Service payment system is ineffective and agree payment reform should include financial incentives that reward "Right Behaviors"
All in all, pretty interesting stuff. The challenge, of course, is to filter the information through our Acts 2 Vision of bringing people into vital relationship with Jesus. How can FCC address the 1 million people who are affected by the issues? How do we serve those who have no access to healthcare? I would really love the creative, Holy Spirit feedback of your initial thoughts on that.
1 The speakers were Courtney Stubblefield from Towers Watson (a consult agency that deals with employee benefits, risk management and other employment related issues), Chris Schultz from Air Liquide (a global business that is a relatively large employer that has many clients in the medical community) and John Hawkins with Texas Hospital Association.