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Census number shows ‘Obamacare’ has cut uninsured rate in Texas

U.S. Census numbers released Wednesday show that the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, fueled a decrease of 700,000 in the number of uninsured Texas, a 3-point decline from 23 to 19 percent. Nationally the uninsured rate fell from about 15 percent to 12 percent. Texas still leads the nation in the number of uninsured and in the percentage of the state’s population without insurance, but the new numbers show the largest decline in the uninsured since 1999, according to the Center for Public Policy Priorities.

More than one million Texans signed up for insurance in last year’s enrollment period on the health care exchange. But for many, including 11 percent of the children under 18 in the state, health insurance remains out of reach. Unfortunately, the state’s Republican leadership is still dead set against Obamacare and against expanding Medicaid, which could make health insurance available to another million Texans living in poverty. Arkansas and New Mexico, both conservative states under Republican leadership, did expand Medicaid and the uninsured rates in both states fell 4 percentage points.

Texans like it when their state is No. 1. But there are some lists it would be best not to lead, and the list of the states with the highest number of uninsured is not one that Texans should boast about leading. But despite the reticence of state leadership to create our own health care exchange in Texas or to expand Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act is helping many Texans get the health insurance all Americans deserve.

About Roger Cowles

Roger Cowles is the editor of The Port Arthur News. Born in Port Arthur, he grew up in Groves. He is a graduate of Port Neches-Groves High School and Lamar University, where he was editor of the University Press. Cowles is married to Celines Del Valle, is a member and past president of The Rotary Club of Port Arthur and serves on a number of boards for local agencies, including the United Way of Mid and South Jefferson County and the Salvation Army.

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