Texans, a lot of them, are getting medical insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Some 700,000 in 2014, according to numbers released by the Census Bureau and collated by the left-leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities. That's good. Three percent more Texans had insurance in 2014 than 2013. That's good, too. The rest of the data? Not good.
"In Texas and nationwide the Affordable Care Act has boosted health insurance coverage tremendously," CPPP Associate Director Anne Dunkelberg said in announcing her organization's findings. "Regrettably, Texas is missing out on the even larger health benefits and cost reductions a majority of states — including conservative states — have gained by expanding coverage for the working poor with federal Medicaid dollars."
In it's health insurance data dump, which it makes every September, the Census Bureau says 19.1 percent of Texans still don't have insurance, the highest rate in the country. Texas also has the highest raw number of uninsured residents for the first time in its history, passing California, which has typically had a much high insured rate, but also has a much larger population.
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Texans are getting insured, but at a much lower rate than some of their neighbors. Arkansas' uninsured rate dropped 4.2 percent from 2013 to 2014. New Mexico's dipped 4.1 percent. The reason Texas lags behind is simple: The state's leadership is ideologically opposed to expanding Medicaid as provided for by Obamacare. Arkansas and New Mexico both took the federal money that allowed for the expansion and have reaped the benefits.
The Medicaid expansion is important because, under the ACA, the United States', and Texas', poorest residents aren't eligible for subsidies. They were supposed to be covered by Medicaid, not shop on the individual market. Texas' gains have come almost exclusively from individuals buying insurance for themselves on the much maligned insurance exchange.
Youths in Texas are insured at a higher rate than adults (89 percent) thanks to the state's CHIP insurance program for kids. Still, the state is tied with Alaska and Arizona for the worst in the United States.