FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Contact: Anat Kelman Shaw, AKelman@childrensdefense.org
713.664.4080 (o), 832.488.8242 (c)
Number of Texas Children without Health Coverage Nearing 1 Million
AUSTIN, TX – A new report by a Georgetown University research center found the number of uninsured children in Texas declined by 4.4 percent between 2008 and 2013. Yet the Lone Star state still has the second highest rate of uninsured children in the country at 12.6%–or nearly 890,000 kids. And Texas stands to continue losing ground as both Republican- and Democratic-led states expand low-income families’ access to insurance by accepting their share of new Medicaid funding.
“Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of Texas children and their parents are uninsured, which not only puts these families at risk, but hurts the local economy,” said Dr. Laura Guerra-Cardus, Associate Director of the Children’s Defense Fund–Texas, and a co-lead of the Texas Well and Healthy Campaign. “Accepting federal funding to close the health care coverage gap would help parents and hundreds of thousands of children. When parents don’t have to worry about unpaid medical bills, the whole family is more financially secure and children’s health needs are more likely to be met.”
Research has shown Texas will pay significant costs by not accepting federal funds to close the coverage gap, with $65.6 billion in lost federal funding and $34.3 billion in lost hospital reimbursements.
“Our state economy and Texas families are paying too high a price for our refusal to close the coverage gap,” added Guerra-Cardus. “There are hundreds of thousands of jobs at stake in Texas, and other conservative states have found creative ways to cover more people and close their coverage gaps. It’s time for a Texas plan that does the same here.”
Even though Texas has not yet accepted its share of new Medicaid funding or implemented a Texas alternative, many uninsured children may already be eligible for Medicaid or the Texas Children Health Insurance Program and not have to wait another minute to enroll. Families who would like help with the application process should call 713-664-4080 or visit cdftexas.org.