Here’s an explanation about the “binational health plan that I keep reading about. Unfortunately, the Legislature only approved a study and there’s never been a law actually allowing the sale of the insurance plans.
To clarify, what Perry referenced was not a merging of Mexico and the United States’ public health systems. It was not, as Wonkette put it, “U.S.-Mexico Obamacare.” Rather, he pointed to a newly passed Texas law, which directed the state to explore allowing private health plans to cover services in Texas and Mexico. Those plans would then be available to any Mexican national or American citizen working within 62 miles of the Texas-Mexico border.
There’s a lot to like about this idea.
First, it targets a big problem in Texas: a lack of insurance. With 26 percent of Texans lacking insurance, the state has the highest rate of uninsured people in the country. Those numbers are even higher in Texas’s border region, according to a 2003 Texas State Senate report.
Second, it’s a private market approach, that would allow insurers to meet an unfilled consumer need. A 2005 study showed that 72 percent of Mexico-born residents of the United States would be interested in a product that covered medical services in Mexico, especially if they had dependents in Mexico who could use those services.
The plan Perry referenced wouldn’t have the state create such a plan. Rather, it would alter Texas’s insurance regulations to allow private carriers to do so.