Texas’ uninsured rate among children dramatically spiked between 2016 and 2019, according to a new report released by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.
“One-third of the total increase in the number of uninsured children from 2016 to 2019 live in Texas,” researchers wrote. “The state saw by far the greatest coverage loss over the period with an estimated 243,000 more children living without health coverage.”
According to the study, 12.7% of children in Texas do not have insurance, compared with 5.7% nationally. The study also shows that every racial and ethnic group in Texas has a higher uninsured rate than the national average.
For example, the uninsured rate for non-Hispanic white children in Texas was 8.3%, which is nearly twice as high as the national uninsured rate for non-Hispanic white children.
Advocates say the state’s numbers would have been “even worse if the data included 2020, given the significant number of families who have lost insurance during the pandemic.”
Hundreds of thousands of Texans have lost their employer-based coverage during the economic shutdown and many have been unable to obtain coverage for their families elsewhere.
“Way too many Texas children lost their health insurance over the last three years because of state and federal policy decisions,” said Patrick Bresette, executive director of Children’s Defense Fund-Texas. “There are several steps the Legislature and other state leaders should take to ensure more Texas kids have the insurance they need so they can see their doctor, go to their check-ups, stay healthy for school, and get their immunizations.”
Child welfare advocates in the state have been urging lawmakers for years to remove barriers to programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program for children who are eligible. However, the state Legislature has yet to address these issues.
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