Texas should expand access to Medicaid and SCHIP for low-income children. Better health insurance coverage will improve the long-term productivity of our population, relieve pressure on our struggling health care system, and lower private health insurance premiums. We must also demand accountability from health care providers on the value of services they provide. Too many procedures and tests are performed at extraordinary costs with little to no benefit to patients. Thoughtful analysis of data from Texas hospitals and physicians can help us improve patient outcomes while lowering costs.

Ho is the James A. Baker III Institute Chair in Health Economics and an associate professor at Rice University.

(On the Web: a similar idea from Elena Marks, the director of health and environmental policy for the City of Houston.)

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