New Grassroots Initiative Seeks to End Texas Trend of Having Nation’s Lowest Child Insurance Rate

AUSTIN – For over a decade now, Texas has been the state with the nation’s highest rate of uninsured people, but a grassroots start-up is launching with the promise to end the trend.

Texas Well and Healthy is a broad-based initiative to organize thousands of parents, faith leaders, young adults, and small business ownders, alongside other concerned residents, in an effort to ensure more children and adults can see a doctor. The initiative is funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies and the Packard Foundation and led by Engage Texas, the Center for Public Policy Priorities, Children’s Defense Fund – Texas and Texans Care for Children. The latter three groups have worked together with state policymakers and fellow advocates in the Texas CHIP Coalition since 2006 to increase health care coverage for children. Since 2007, more than 865,000 Texas children have gained Children’s Medicaid or CHIP health care.

In the weeks and months ahead, Texas Well and Healthy will conduct a statewide community organizing and public education campaign to ensure Texans’ priorities, such as health care for families, receive more attention from lawmakers.

The campaign works toward effective implementation of the Affordable Care Act and protection of health care programs, like CHIP and Medicaid. Nearly 9 out of 10 Texas voters oppose cuts to children’s health care programs, according to a poll from the Texas Tribune and the University of Texas. In fact, protecting health care for children was found to be more popular in Texas than protecting funds for highway construction or prisons, and roughly tied with support for preserving border security and education resources.

“Texas Well and Healthy will help bring together the Texans who believe that you should be able to see a doctor when you need to in our state,” said Anne Dunkelberg, associate director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities. “State leaders can stand up and be forward-thinking about what we want for the health and future of this state. And every-day Texans can stand up and join this campaign to demand some change for Texas.”

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