“COVID-19 is clearly showing what Texans already know: the state needs to address underlying, non-medical conditions that have a dramatic impact on their health,” EHF President and CEO Elena Marks said in a news release. “Low-income and minority communities are more likely to catch the virus in the first place and more likely to get sicker and die if they do catch it. All of that goes back to social, community, and economic conditions—not medical care.”
The survey found 62% of Texans agreed improving the economy should be a priority for the state Legislature when it comes to improving health. Reducing air, water or chemical pollution had similar agreement with 60%, as did reducing crime and improving neighborhood safety at 59%, and improving public education at 59%.
Lower-income survey respondents were more likely to cite the economy, crime, racial discrimination, and access to child care and pre-K as top priorities.
The survey was conducted Oct. 10-Nov. 19 among a representative sample of 1,200 adults age 18 and older living in Texas. It built on a previous survey released in February that found agreement among a majority of Texans that health care coverage alone is not sufficient to ensure good health, and 80% agreed insurance was essential or very important to health.
“These numbers, along with the disparities highlighted by COVID-19, should spark important discussions by state leaders on how they can address underlying causes of poor health that have nothing to do with going to a doctor or hospital,” Marks said in the release. “So many Texans face a range of social and economic conditions that conspire against their health. We have to change the conversation to improving health, not just health care in Texas.”
To help foot the bill of paying for nonmedical investments in health, 58% of Texans said health insurance companies should pitch in.