At Lee Manross’ prompting, Carolyn Goodwin, TAHU President, and about 15 other TAHU members, including our very own Gentrie Reisinger, attended the March 2008 hearing on State Affairs with our Texas Senators. Steve Browning of the THIRP (Texas Health Insurance Risk Pool) did an excellent job explaining the purpose and state of THIRP and provided comparisons to other states and past years financial standing.
Other interest groups like the Diabetes Association, Texas Association of Small Businesses, and National Multiple Sclerosis Society were there to plea to our legislatures the need for our state government to subsidize THIRP.
All interest groups except TAHU presented their statistics and personal stories as to how the high cost of THIRP prevents people from receiving adequate care. When the opportunity arose for a member of the audience to testify, Gentrie Reisinger, went on record to address this issue. Though sympathetic, Gentrie described the government subsidizing THIRP as equivalent to placing a bucket under a leaky sink and calling it fixed. She offered solutions based on EDUCATION of employers, employees, and beyond that –school age children. She remarked on how lifestyle choices lead to increased mortality and morbidity rates of our society thus increasing claims and therefore premiums. She stated that a shift in paradigm needs to take place in order to create a society of citizens in which personal accountability and responsibility for health and healthcare financing becomes paramount.
Her point was well received by the likes of Rep. Senator Harris and Dem. Senator Lucio (thus implying broad appeal). Not to over-embellish her three minutes of fame (since she is the author of this article—just to note that her ideas were heard and not discounted completely.
As a follow up to her three minutes of political fame, she created a curriculum which she has offered to implement 1-2 times per year to grad school kids to teach them about the basics of insurance and healthy choices. She presented it to Grand Prairie ISD in an effort to do more than ‘talk the talk’ and it was also received well.
-Gentrie Reisinger, FWAHU Newsletter Chair 2007-08