Texas is #1 in uninsured



Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has stated that he is unwilling to consider the expansion of Medicaid. Photo from Jan. 8. (Jay Janner /Austin American-Statesman via AP / Statesman.com)

Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the number of uninsured. We like to think we are number one in everything. Texas is the number one state in the country in the number of uninsured individuals.

Thanks to the Republican State Legislature failing to expand Medicaid for two legislative sessions in a row, there is a coverage gap as wide as the Texas sky.

Approximately 24.6 percent of Texas residents are uninsured, or about one out of every four people. That’s 6.2 million Texans.

Part of the Healthcare reforms passed under President Obama was to expand Medicaid coverage to millions of low-income Americans.

For example, if low-income children are receiving healthcare from Medicaid or CHIP, what Medicaid expansion would do is put their uninsured parents and older siblings on Medicaid too. Doctor visits wouldn’t stop after someone turns nineteen.

January 31 is the last day to enroll in a health insurance plan on HealthCare.gov for 2016 coverage, but for many Texans who should be part of the Medicad expansion, plans may still be too expensive.

Currently, Texas Republicans are turning their nose up at the Affordable Care Act. Sen. Ted Cruz continually criticizes it. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the Obama administration last October attacking a part of the law. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has stated that he is unwilling to consider the expansion of Medicaid. The Governor thinks that Medicaid is a broken entitlement program that shouldn’t be expanded.

The tax dollars that would have come to Texas through expanded Medicaid are now going to other states like New York who did expand the program.

When the next Texas Legislative session convenes in January 2017, it will be after the 2016 presidential election. It is possible that Republicans may consider Medicaid expansion after the election cycle is over, but don’t hold your breath.