When it comes to health care in Texas, many state residents acknowledge that there are problems that must be addressed quickly. But as to who exactly should be responsible for those fixes, things become much less clear.

That’s one of the many findings released last week by the Texas Lyceum Poll, an annual survey that takes the pulse of opinion on critical policy issues that Texans face. By design, the poll is a scientific, transparent process that provides the public with specific data points in key areas, from politics to day-to-day life.

As co-chairs of this year’s Texas Lyceum PUBCON, to be held Friday, Aug. 17, at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, we’re pleased that more than 300 of the state’s business, political, and health care leaders will be participating in a day-long conference entitled, “Code Blue! The State of Texas Healthcare.”

Judging by the recent poll numbers, we couldn’t have chosen a more personal, important topic.

The agenda throughout the day will focus on areas of need regarding health care, from the lack of insurance for so many to the issues of affordability, quality, and overall access. Thus the decision to use “Code Blue!” in the title, signifying an urgent need of attention.

It’s important that state lawmakers are also paying heed. The 32nd annual conference will take place only five months before the Texas Legislature convenes for its 2019 session. Among the headliners on hand at the Tobin, most taking part in panel discussions, will be State Reps. Ina Minjarez (D-San Antonio), Donna Howard (D-Austin), and John M. Zerwas (R-Richmond), along with former State Senator and Health and Human Services Commissioner Kyle Janek. Several other legislators and community influencers will be in the audience.

Lawmakers know that Texans are speaking out through the Texas Lyceum Poll. Respondents’ answers largely fell along party lines, especially in regard to who holds the responsibility to provide adequate health care coverage. For example, 79 percent of Texas Democrats say that ensuring that coverage is a government responsibility. Among Texas Republicans, 72 percent say the opposite.

The need for coverage is evident. Nearly half of all Texans believe that adults are less healthy today than two decades ago. Sixty-one percent feel that children are less healthy now than 20 years ago.

Those results provide the backdrop to many other, disparate responses regarding how to improve on that. Texans don’t have much confidence in the federal government when it comes to health care management, with 71 percent saying they have “little or no trust,” and only slightly higher have faith in state government to provide solutions. When asked what’s most important when it comes to the U.S. health care system, respondents chose affordability over access and quality.

Creating and sustaining affordable health care, however, has proven elusive.

One thing everyone can agree on, however, is the need for a healthy populace when it comes to the economy. To compete on a regional – and global – level, communities need a strong, reliable workforce. It’s one of the greatest lures to attracting companies looking to locate their operations. That means impactful salaries, tax revenue, and dynamic residents for a city like San Antonio, among the most desirable destinations in the country.

It’s why, during the Texas Lyceum PUBCON, we’ll be focusing on answers born of discussions with influencers regarding awareness, education, promotion, and the eventual elimination of the preventable aspects that cause chronic diseases. We’ll be addressing solutions about health care funding, quality options and accessibility, and hot topics such as the opioid crisis, trends and funding for Medicaid, and the results of the Texas Lyceum Poll.

To attend the Texas Lyceum PUBCON, register here

Esteban López

Dr. Esteban López is a practicing physician. He serves as chief medical officer and Southwest Texas market president for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. Follow him on Twitter @DrEstebanLopez.

Casandra Matej

Casandra Matej is president and CEO of Visit San Antonio.