Focus Point - The Real Story on Texas Health Care

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Before you swallow a dose of bad medicine ? in the form of liberal propaganda about the Texas health care system, consider this.

Yes, one in four Texans doesn't have health insurance. But there are more than 40 federal programs for the uninsured in the state. Texas law requires counties to serve the medically indigent. A $1.5 billion program compensates hospitals that serve an above-average number of indigent patients. There are health care grants for residents of public housing, legal immigrants and seasonal farm workers. Public and private agencies annually spend $1,000 per uninsured individual above and beyond Medicare. So, with all these free services, a substantial number of Texans don't bother to buy health insurance. Why should they? The government is taking care of them.

So it's especially annoying that Al Gore's campaign is running TV ads saying the health care situation in Texas is worse than other states -- and that, of course, it's George W. Bush's fault. That's a political change, not a factual conclusion.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you next time.