With Texas’ uninsured population growing, a “not-so-special” session

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After the 83rd Texas Legislature concluded its session in May, it went back into a Special Session to address items deemed crucial—such as redistricting maps. Unfortunately, neither Texas-style health care reform nor the Medicaid Expansion was deemed crucial, and they are not on the agenda for this special session.

More than six million Texans lack health insurance, including more than a million children. Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured citizens of any state in the nation, and according to a recent Gallup poll, the gap is growing.

Gallup researcher Elizabeth Mendes begins her report by saying:

For the fifth straight year, Texas has the highest uninsured rate in the country — the 28.8% of adult Texans lacking healthcare coverage in 2012 is the highest for any state since Gallup and Healthways started tracking insurance coverage in January 2008. This widens the gap between Texas and the state with the second-highest uninsured rate in the country, Louisiana (24.0%), to 4.8 percentage points — the largest number separating these two spots on record. Massachusetts continues to have the lowest uninsured rate in the U.S., at 4.5%.

Massachusetts, which implemented an earlier version of “universal” health care coverage prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, continues to have the lowest uninsured rate: 4.5%. The difference in state populations (based on the 2010 Census) makes the percentage difference even larger:

·      4.5% of Massachusetts’ population of 6+ million is uninsured.

·      28.8% of Texas’ population of 25+ million is uninsured

This depicts the sad, sobering fact that more people are uninsured in Texas than live in Massachusetts.

With the number of uninsured in Texas higher than any other state since this issue has been tracked, I wish “covering the uninsured” had been deemed crucial enough to be part of the agenda in our State Legislature’s Special Session.

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