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Crisis Management - Houston's Healthcare Challenge

Abstract
Houston's healthcare crisis is so great, that it has received national attention. The percent of uninsured individuals in Texas was the highest in the nation in 2006, at 24.5%. While 14% of the U.S. population was uninsured in 2000, Harris County has 19% without health insurance coverage. A wealth of data and research studies exists on the uninsured population at the national level. However, Houston's population differs dramatically from the rest of the nation, so that we are unclear about which parts of these studies are applicable to our population.

I am requesting a one course teaching reduction to research the following issues:
1) Houston has a high rate of uninsurance. Why?
2) What are the consequences of high uninsurance?
3) Can new market solutions relieve some of the burden?
4) Can we reform payment in Medicare and Medicaid to address disparities in Texas?

I will address these issues through a combination of literature review, direct communication with those engaged in local and state health policy reform, and collection and preliminary analysis of secondary datasets that provide information on health insurance and healthcare in Houston and Texas. This research will lead to manuscripts that will be submitted to health economics, policy, and medical joumals. The results will also be disseminated to the Houston community and to policy makers in the state of Texas.