From Longview to McAllen to Amarillo, Top 25 TX Metro Areas Have Worse Uninsured Rate Than US

We recently highlighted the new data from the US Census Bureau showing that Texas has the nation’s worst uninsured rate for all ages combined and the worst rate for children — and that both rates got worse last year. 

That data show, among other things, that the Texas uninsured rate of 17.7 in 2018 is more than twice as high as the national uninsured rate of 8.5 percent. The data show much lower uninsured rates in states that implemented Medicaid expansion to provide a health coverage option to child care teachers, janitors, sales clerks, and other Texans with low-wage jobs.

We also highlighted the steps that state leaders can take to reduce the uninsured rate for kids — such as reducing the red tape that knocks eligible kids out of Medicaid — and steps to reduce the uninsured rate for adults — such as expanding coverage for new moms and accepting Medicaid expansion funding.

But how do individual Texas communities stack up when it comes to ensuring that kids, moms, and others have access to health care?

Unfortunately, as detailed in the following table, every one of the 25 largest metro areas in Texas has a much worse uninsured rate than the national average of 8.5 percent. 

The only metro area that is close to the national average is Texarkana, which includes residents on the Arkansas side of the border that are covered under the state’s Medicaid expansion.

The data underscore three key points:

  1. Lack of health coverage for kids, moms, low-wage workers, and others is a problem in all Texas communities

  2. Our statewide average statistics hide some deep disparities between communities.

  3. The lack of health coverage requires state policy solutions.

For the benefit of all Texas communities, state leaders must make health coverage a top priority for the next Texas legislative session.