Majorities of Texans say improving the economy, reducing pollution, and improving neighborhood safety should be top priorities for state lawmakers to improve health across the state. In addition, two-thirds of Texans say people would be healthier if the state spent more money on non-medical factors that affect health. Those are just some of the results of Episcopal Health Foundation’s (EHF) statewide survey on how the government and the health care industry can address social determinants of health in Texas.
EHF’s survey found that 62 percent of Texans said that improving the economy and availability of jobs should be a top priority for the state legislature when it comes to improving the health of residents. Similar numbers say that reducing air, water or chemical pollution (60 percent), reducing crime and improving neighborhood safety (59 percent), and improving public schools (59 percent) should also be top state health priorities.
EHF’s survey also found that low-income Texans were more likely than those with higher incomes to say that addressing factors like the economy, crime, racial discrimination, and access to child care and Pre-K education should be top health priorities for lawmakers.
In addition to naming various community conditions as health priorities, researchers found that two-thirds of Texans (66 percent) say that people in Texas would be healthier if the state spent more money on non-medical factors. That’s more than twice as many Texans who said the state shouldn’t invest in those issues (29 percent). Women, young adults between ages 18-29, and low-income Texans were the groups most likely to say more state spending on non-medical factors leads to a healthier Texas.
EHF’s survey also asked about the role Texans think health insurance companies should play in addressing community factors that impact health. Nearly six in 10 (58 percent) say health insurance should help cover non-medical factors that might affect people’s health. Researchers found that women, younger adults, non-whites, and those with lower incomes were more likely to say insurance companies should help cover non-medical factors.
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