Why Dallas Business Leaders Want to Close the Health Coverage Gap

There are plenty of reasons why Texas businesses are urging state leaders to accept federal health care funds to close the Coverage Gap for low-wage workers. A solution would provide a healthier workforce, create jobs, lower insurance premiums, and save Texas employers as much as $399 million in tax penalties for failing to insure their workers. By using the funds that Texas taxpayers already send to the federal government, Texas would use less of our local property tax dollars to provide care to the uninsured in emergency rooms and local health programs. In fact, local officials have said they "would cut property taxes to pass on the savings."

So we were pleased but not surprised to see the Dallas Citizens Council, a group of prominent business leaders, recently call on the state to close the Coverage Gap. They join a long list of Chambers of Commerce, health organizations, and other Texans who have called on the legislature to either pass Medicaid expansion or develop a Texas-specific solution to the Coverage Gap.

In a recent op-ed outlining its support for a solution, the Dallas Citizens Council explained the costs we all incur as long as the coverage gap remains:

"When a temporarily unemployed 30-year-old man, lacking health coverage, has a car accident and is taken to Parkland or another critical care hospital, you and I will fund his treatment either through higher taxes or increased rates for our business or personal insurance."

They go on to say:

"Not only is the reimbursement program a business bargain, it also will drive new dollars into the economy. One estimate predicts Medicaid expansion would push nearly $90 billion into Texas. Industry professionals say that a Texas policy change would generate over 230,000 new and reliable jobs in the state, and that’s just by 2016."

 We agree with Texas business leaders. It's time to close the Coverage Gap.