In Lack of Health Insurance Coverage Texas Is First

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Texas is at the top of the heap again – this time we are the most uninsured state, health care-wise, in the country. Oh wait, being without health insurance coverage is not a good thing, is it? One in four people in Texas can't afford to have health insurance.

The U.S. Census Bureau released a report today stating that the number of uninsured in America was down to just 15.3% in 2007. But not in Texas. In 2007, Lone Star state residents went from 23.9% uninsured to 24.8%.

John Greeley, public information officer for the Texas Department of Insurance told Hair Balls:

"Some of the things that we have identified as contributing to the number of uninsured in Texas, with regards to health insurance, are the high number of small businesses that are paying a relatively low wage that we have in the state. Our number of people getting employer coverage is less than in other states. There’s an economic climate in Texas that is very much free enterprise, which affects that. Other factors are that health care cost more here. Also, we have overall lower household wages. Those are some of the factors that we looked at last year and they haven’t really changed."

Race and place of birth are definitely factors in getting – or rather not getting – health insurance coverage. 32.1% of Hispanics in Texas are uninsured, but in all 49 other states, that rate was less than 20%. (Only Native Americans and Alaskan Natives rivaled the Hispanic rates, at 31.9%.)

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For the country as a whole, 43.8% of non-citizens are uninsured, while U.S.-born citizens have only a 12.7% uninsured rate. Greeley said he didn’t have any comments on the possible correlation between race/place of birth and health insurance percentages.

But all hope is not lost.

Greeley says the lack of health insurance coverage in Texas hasn’t gone unnoticed: “Texas has had a number of initiatives started to address the problem of the uninsured. There’s a lot of activity, a lot of legislative activity that is happening. We’re finishing up two interim studies."

He continues:

"One of them is more affordable options for small businesses to offer health insurance, ways to make it easier for them including premium subsidies, help to cover the cost to the business. We’re also looking at that for individuals, other sources of funds that might be used to cover their health insurance premiums. We’ve also been involved, the Governor’s Office and other state agencies, in seeking a waiver from Medicare that would allow qualified individuals to use funds from Medicare to buy private health insurance."

Those health insurance programs in Texas should be in place in the next five to ten years. Hope we can stay healthy that long.

Olivia Alvaarez writes for The Rag Blog

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Comments

How many of the number of uninsured you are citing, are actual U.S. citizens? Yes, this makes a huge difference in deciding what American public policy should be to address this issue. In fact, you state the following: "For the country as a whole, 43.8% of non-citizens are uninsured, while U.S.-born citizens have only a 12.7% uninsured rate. " Keep in mind, Texas, along with several other states has an enormous problem with illegal immigration. This makes up the majority of people you are citing as uninsured. A very important fact that you do not address in your specific analysis of Texas, along with many other things to boot. Also, this is precisely why health care is so much more expensive in Texas than it is in many other states. Insurance or not, Texas is required by Federal Statute, to take on the burden of paying the cost for these uninsured illegal and undocumented immigrants. Further, this is precisely why wages, on average, are lower in Texas. When you take out the wages of unskilled illegal immigrant labor, you get a whole different picture.
Good luck down there. In Vermont, where I live, we are so liberal compared to Texas, and yet no one dares to enact any kind of comprehensive health care legislation that insures all Vermonters get coverage. In our health care system, the spirit of free enterprise intrudes over common sense or humanity. That is a metaphor for America.
What on earth do you mean "That is a metaphor for America"? You can't be serious!! Free enterprise is what gives America its strength. Liberalism is what takes it away. Read your history books.
you call that strength, maybe you've been reading the wrong biased history books.
massachusetts has, you should come down here. lol
Texas is in the top 5 of states with the most Blacks. Texas is in the top 5 of states with most Hispanics. Texas is in the top 5 of states with most illegal immigrants. When you do the math, there is no mystery why Texas is number one in the nation with uninsured. But go visit the emergency rooms at state-funded hospitals and see who is filling up every available space with stupid things like headaches, drug withdrawals, gang fight injuries, domestic disputes, and other anti-social-related problems. If that isn't enough, drive the streets of, say, Houston or Dallas and look at all the perfectly healthy minority population sitting around doing nothing. Don't even think it's because they can't find work. IT IS BECAUSE THEY CHOOSE NOT TO WORK and contribute to society. Why should they? Everything they want or need is given to them on silver platters. Nope, I'm not racist. Not at all. But I AM MAD! Every single day I'm reading stories about things like KATRINA VICTIMS BILK F.E.M.A. OUT OF MILLIONS. or.... The culprits of the home invasion are described as black males....... Wake up all you statisticians. There's a reason for those numbers and it won't be solved with stinking free health care for all.
Nope, you're not racist. You just drive around the streets of say, Houston or Dallas, looking at perfectly healthy minority populations sitting around and doing nothing and assuming they don't have jobs. If you're not working during those hours you supposedly drive around those areas, why would you expect those sitting around doing nothing to be working? Did you, oh none racist that you are, actually go around and ask those perfectly healthy minority population members what they were doing sitting around doing nothing? Did you actually ask them about their medical histories so that you aren't in fact, talking out your arse when you say they are perfectly healthy? Are you aware that people in lower income areas often work swing and graveyard shifts as well as weekends in order to make more money and that maybe the reason they're sitting around and doing nothing at the time you drive by is that they don't have enough money to drive around and stare at other segments of the population like you obviously can afford to when they're not working? Racists never realize how much they give away about themselves when they try to pretend to sound reasonable.
you can't say you are not a racist and say things like this, I am sorry. you should wake up and understand that it's the government, and the people who have the upper hand, and the lack of opportunity that is driving them. I grew up in dallas and noticed the stark difference between the rich white upper and middle class, and the lower working class (typically being hispanic and black). and given things they need on silver platters? what, like education? health care? good jobs that pay more than minimum wage? or even minimum wage? you tell me where the money goes for education, I am sure you will find it in the northern suburbs rather then the southern districts of dallas county.
To the two biased individuals who responded to my post. First question: Who, in your view, is the government? Huh? Do you vote? I do. When I do, I vote for whatever I feel is right. When I vote, I join millions and millions of other people who elect those in government today - otherwise known as the majority. Before you assess 'emphasis on the first syllable' your definition of who I am, you best take a long, hard look at yourself. I'm didn't judge a people in my post, just a few who are users and irresponsible citizens. I pay my taxes and contribute, not steal, from society. I don't walk around, like some others do, with the 'womb to tomb' mentality. Finally, before you judge me to be someone I'm not, why didn't you ask me if I love all people? I do. I just dislike the way lawbreakers impose their way of life on others, openly fume racial rhetoric when not getting their way (like children), and then expect me to take care of them. Wake up.
Your right, its not the rich white people who dont want to spend their money on your health, its the spooky brown people who take it away. Dont worry though, they will keep you just healthy enough to keep you carrying thier water....
I think the term "Low income" should be further defined. Try these terms to better identify this group: 1. Those who can't work - disabled 2. Those on fixed incomes - elderly 3. Those who refuse to better themselves and learn a trade (send to category 5) (if they can't learn, send to category 1) 4. Those here illegally - scumbags (Send them back home!!!) 5. Those who refuse to work - leeches (cut off EVERY SINGLE BIT OF ASSISTANCE!!!!) Those stats would quickly change.
people here illegally are scumbags? illegal by our national government that willingly took this free land, privatized it, screwed the natives, and continues to promise freedom and a better life to people across the globe, yet have restrictions on even becoming a citizen? so a scumbag is a non-american who decides to live in this country for it's benefits of a promised better life and a chance, an honest to goodness chance, yet can hardly find the means of becoming a citizen. and if by chance you are an uninformed mexican crossing the border for work and good money, and find yourself a job. you will have a hell of a time getting citizenship. the code of federal regulations states this. you basically have to have a relative petition for your citizenship, and good luck with that if you have already gotten a job.
No, a scumbag is one who willfully chooses to NOT follow the laws of whatever country they decide to live in, work in, and benefit from. The 'laws' are those controls established by the government which, by the way, is you and me, like it or not. So, you either support the laws and the people who made them or you don't. The laws aren't what's wrong - it's the lawbreakers.
using money from medicare, to pay for private insurance. what a waste of time and money. why not just loosen the standards on medicaid, and give people state health insurance. the federal government, and the state government both put money it, why not use it. but I am sure that texas does not put a lot of money into it considering its current representatives. starting next year the state will have a $10 billion + surplus, I think it can afford some health care.
If your white, your the bad guy! No one stops to think in terms of legalized or not, its always racially motivated. I'm white and damn proud to be evil, but ya know i dont care if your black, brown, yellow, skin color doesnt matter, get here legally or go back to where you came from. Im not just talking in terms of mexicans, im including anyone here illegally whose leeching, canadians, australians, germans, european, asians, middle easterners........ If you pay 3 people who are illegal under the table what you would pay 1 person who is legal and on the books, you now have 4 people who cant afford insurance.
what about people in the united states that "leach" off the system?
cant stand them either, but where are you gonna send them? The leeching needs to stop, the people who become baby factories so they get a check, pathetic.
Anonymous, you are right in everything you said. Im not racist or anything, but statistics do not discriminate. I've lived in Houston a couple of years, drive down Montrose and all you see is a bunch of homosexual bums sitting on the sidewalks, pass under I-45 in downtown all these bums just chillin like if nothing is happening. Ever stop at a red light towards Woodridge near Gulfgate area, all these people asking you for money as if you owe them something. Now don't get me wrong, theres a handful of immigrants who come to the US illegally but contribute to society, try to come for education, a better job, raise a family... but many of them come just to have kids, have the government take care of them, and stuff like that, thats the people I want out, bunch of lazy nobodies.
What a laugh........ these numbers include those who choose to go without insurance. These people think it won't happen to me. What a shame.
Just look around the world at any country or even here in America and you will see that dumb people are poor and people that want better in life, no matter their current circumstance, will better themselves if they are not dumb. Being lazy is a choice. If you have a brain and choose to use it you can prosper. Even people that seem drastically physically challenged do great things and prosper. Ever heard of Steven Hawking. How about the countless military heros that have lost limbs. Most of them could quite literally run circles around the lazy, looking for a handout, moochers that will buy $4 a pack cigs every day rather than buy milk and diapers for their own kids.
Most people not need any health care until age 50. Or later. People can pay for own physicals if they want them. I never had a sick day in school or on the job that needed a doctor. All this Insurance talk sounds like a scam for Insurance Agents and Medical Unions. Not families. Once I had to be sewed up due to a glass cut... paid a doctor 20 bucks. Took 5 minutes and a got a shot. Let each individual decide what medical care they want. My brother has never been covered by health plan in 65 years. He just paid a doctor when he needed treatment. Just like getting dental work.... which government plans do not cover. Christian Scientists likely want less. Most young people would rather have beer and cigs and eat twinkies. Many poor have money to spend on illegal drugs... billions. And would rather pay for a cell phone plan than a medical plan. Just put a tax on junk food to pay for elder care and emergency rooms. Or adopt a Sales Tax? Problem is politicians waste money on welfare and not make people work for their keep. Far better to put a cap on what Doctors and Nurses can earn... Then everyone could afford low cost medical care!
Illegal immigration is not the issue here. From the Census website (3 yr avg 2005-2007 % of uninsured): Texas - 24.4%; New Mexico - 21.9%; Arizona - 19.6%; and California - 18.6%. Looking at Dept of Homeland Security's estimate of illegal immigrant % of population in 2006 (http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/statistics/publications/ill_pe_2006.pdf) compared to state pop estim in 2007 from Census data: * Texas - 1.6 mil (of population of 23.9 mil) --> ~6.7% state pop is illegal imm * New Mexico - 70,000 (non-governmental org research http://www.fairus.org/site/PageServer?pagename=research_research1888) (of population of 2.0 mil) --> 3.5% is illegal imm [not sure about the methodology of the other site] * Arizona - 0.5 mil (of population of 6.3 mil) --> ~7.9% * California - 2.8 mil (of population of 36.6 mil) --> ~7.7% If Illegal immigration was the big factor, we'd see Arizona or California worse off, insurance coverage-wise. Insurance affordability is a symptom of the real issue. The real issue is that Texas hasn't done a good job with its economy. Education isn't emphasized, innovation is stifled, and entrenched interests are emphasized. Texas doesn't do enough to build up its human and technology capital, doesn't invest in itself and its kids future, and that's it. When people can get ahead, they'll be able to afford insurance. I lived in Dallas and worked all over Texas. I love Texas for its spirit and freedom, its texmex and steak, and for my wife and friends. But I'm not keen on how Texas statemen/women in government, churches, and business have rather pointed fingers at each other than led us over the past generation.
you all say you r not racist. Well dfine racist. I live in the Houston area and I see what the other Houstonian is talkn about. I am one of those statictist that is low income struggling barely making it. I am not insured cause I cannt afford it. But I am trying to better myself. I am going to school full time work 2 jobs full time and my fiance working 2 jobs ( who by the way came legaly from mexico) and helping us. The americans i married and divorced dont do nothing to support their kidds but i made sure they have insurance and take care of them the best i can(my kids by way). Where is the government on the school & child support? to me all yall want to do is blame and cry and whine! we pay for the lawbreakers shelters and food and cloths but the law abidding get screwed! what needs to be done is all stnd up and ask if we are such a free place why is other countries better off than we are? Why do they have so much more to offer than we do? all i hear from others is racist remarks and it disturbs me in what this country has become these days. this is our childrens future and it doesnt seem very promising to me. o n unskilled mexican workers, they come here to get away from the bad and get paid nothing because the americans are stingy n want more than ben offered. they work for nothing save it all and send it home yet they have less than us. think about all the ancestors of yalls that came and see why they came here. America has lost what the real purpose was and until we realize that then everything will be screwed up