BREAKING - New Census Figures Show Record Gains in TX Health Coverage, Despite GOP Obstruction
Despite vigilant obstruction from Texas Republicans like Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, another 500,000 Texans gained health coverage last year, according to new figures released by the Census Bureau today.
In other words - thanks, Obama!
Texas' rate of uninsured people fell to 17.1 percent in 2015 as part of a steady decline in the share of uninsured residents following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to new Census estimates released Tuesday.
The state's rate of uninsured fell two percentage points from 2014 to 2015, but Texas still has the highest percentage of people without health insurance in the country. Texas is also home to the largest number of uninsured people in the country with about 4.6 million uninsured residents.
So yes - Texas still has the highest total of uninsured people, and the highest rate of uninsured people, in the country.
But the progress we've made since ACA provisions went into place is undeniable:
- 2013 - 5.7 million uninsured (22.1% uninsured rate)
- 2014 - 5.1 million uninsured (19.1% uninsured rate)
- 2015 - 4.6 million uninsured (17.1% uninsured rate)
That 5-percentage point improvement, from 22.1% down to 17.1%, is unprecedented. From 1999 to 2013, Texas never saw a single percentage point decrease in the uninsured rate; in fact, some years it got worse.
That Texas is getting so much better so much faster is exclusively due to the actions taken by President Barack Obama to pass and protect the Affordable Care Act.
Anne Dunkelberg, Associate Director with the Center for Public Policy Priorities, released the following statement about the latest figures:
"We are really pleased to see that in 2015, the Affordable Care Act continued to boost health insurance coverage in Texas. But too many hard-working, low-income Texans are still left uninsured, while their better-off neighbors can get discount health coverage. And all Texans are losing out on the even larger health benefits and cost savings that most states – including conservative states – have gained by expanding coverage using federal Medicaid dollars."
Unfortunately, those gains are at risk. Texas is currently debating how to replace one-time temporary funds from the federal government that are likely to go away by December 2017. Part of that conversation involves how we increase coverage for the uninsured.
Yet, during an interim hearing at the Texas Legislature today, here's what the Senate Health & Human Services committee heard:
Reminder of Senate HHS meeting so far:
Senate GOP have said that covering 1.5M more Texans and saving $350M is a bad thing. #txlege
— ProgressTexas (@ProgressTX) September 13, 2016
Thankfully, President Obama was here to start making this better these past few years.
And the numbers today are a reminder at what's at stake when we think about who to vote for in the 2016 election.