Despite Texas Republicans not expanding Medicaid and fearmongering regarding the Affordable care act, various health care nonprofits worked hard to to get 734,000 Texans covered by private insurance through the Marketplace. According to the Feds, here are the numbers for Texas:
- 55% are women
- 30% are age 18-34 — slightly higher than the 28% national rate
- 439k signed up after March 1. 295k had signed up prior to March 1
- 84% used financial assistance
- 67% signed up through the silver plan
So many people were left out in the cold because Rick Perry, Greg Abbott and the Republicans chose to not even consider a Medicaid expansion, as well as by using their positions to bully Texans with fear and innuendo about the available health care plans. No doubt, the next enrollment period will continue to add folks to health care plans. It’s not difficult to notice that the a majority of sign-ups occurred after March 1–once Texans saw through the Republican lies.
Sadly, there are millions of Texans still uninsured. According to the Center for Public Policy Priorities, prior to the enrollment period, some 6,000,000 Texans had no health care coverage. Of the 1,000,000 uninsured children, about half are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP. And 1,000,000 adults are in the Coverage Gap–those who are not offered health insurance at work, but do not qualify for financial assistance to afford the monthly payments.
If a Texan has a “qualifying life event” at anytime–loss of a job or a child is born–they may apply for coverage through the Marketplace at anytime. Otherwise, the next enrollment period begins on November 15, for coverage beginning on January 1, 2015.
Personally, I still support a single-payer plan in order to cover as many of the uninsured as possible. It’s just a smart investment that keeps Texas healthy. Still, the ACA is the current solution which has withstood constitutional and political challenges. We must continue to support and defend it.