Why care about health care coverage anyway?

I’m Texan through and through: born and raised to two-step, eat helpings of Tex-Mex and look out for my neighbors. Growing up just outside of Dallas, I was taught the value of going out of your way for those in need. I’ve seen my family and others step up to help people in the community when they or a loved one has suffered from catastrophic physical or mental illness.

While I try to maintain this ethos in my personal life, I began asking myself, "How do we prevent this from happening in the first place? Why must families rely on a patchwork of community services that may not be available to all?”

Faith groups, neighbors, and family friends sometimes can only help so much. However, serious health and mental health problems are often more persistent than good intentions.

When serious illness of any kind strikes, the people around us provide constant support. But health coverage is really important, too. Services from professional, caring people can make all the difference in wellbeing and recovery, as anyone who's ever been a patient can tell you. The costs of that professional care without coverage often bankrupt families, even families privileged to have a lot of people around them who want to help.

I have seen the effects of physical and mental health challenges on families. Parents, brothers, sisters and extended family will do anything to provide for those they love, but nothing replaces the security of having the coverage you need when a child gets sick. All Texans should have access to affordable, robust and comprehensive mental and physical health coverage. Why? Because it’s who Texans are. We care for our own. We care for all Texans.

Written by: Clayton Travis, Texans Care for Children Mental Health Policy Fellow. Cross-posted at Texans Care for Children's blog.

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