"Rising health care costs are a strain on Texas families, seniors and small business owners trying to make ends meet. My plan makes sure Texans have access to the care they need at a price they can afford."
Strayhorn's plan - part of her Texas First Agenda - will fully restore the Children's Health Insurance Program and will use unspent federal dollars and insurance purchasing pools to provide access to lower-cost health insurance for working families, force the Texas Department of Insurance to actively support and promote small businesses' ability to pool resources to purchase affordable insurance, provide long-term care that emphasizes independent living for Texans with disabilities and frail elderly Texans, create a prevention and wellness division in the Texas Department of State Health Services, dramatically expand nursing education and promote an electronic medical records system to improve care and cut health care costs.
"Texas has the sixth largest economy in the world on a per capita basis and we are dead last in the percentage of children with insurance and adults with insurance, including working Texans," Strayhorn said. "We ought to be ashamed. Health care costs and poor coverage threaten the quality of life, health and the future well-being of our state."
The "Affordable Health Care for Texans Plan:"
"Texans need greater access to affordable health care - plain and simple," Strayhorn said. "When we get sick and have insurance we can pay the bill. But when hard-working Texans who can not afford health insurance get sick, we all pay the bill in the form of higher taxes and higher premiums."
Strayhorn said the state can pay for her plan with existing resources. In the last six years, the state's budget has increased $44 billion or 45 percent.
"Where do we get the money? I've outlined $8 billion in long-term 'Strayhorn Solutions' in addition to identifying an $8.2 billion surplus. We have the money, what the Austin political establishment lacks is the leadership, wisdom and courage to do what is best for all Texans, not just the special few," she said.