TMA is asking the Texas Legislature to consider supporting a multifaceted strategy to provide comprehensive coverage to uninsured and underinsured Texans, a population whose rolls have swelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its economic effects.
Texas is No. 1 in the U.S. in the number of uninsured. More than 5.2 million Texans lack health insurance, representing 20% of the state’s population. And that was before the pandemic struck and more than a million Texans lost their jobs and insurance coverage.
“The number of Texans who lack health care coverage is increasing,” TMA President Diana L. Fite, MD, said. “As an organization dedicated to improving the health of all Texans, these numbers greatly alarm and trouble us.”
TMA points to studies showing that without health insurance, Texans put off treatment, suffer worse health outcomes, require more expensive care, and have shorter life spans. And the ripple effects of the uninsured rate also harm Texas’ economy.
Other states have used Medicaid dollars to design health coverage plans to fit their states’ particular needs or passed state ballot initiatives to expand Medicaid. Texas recently won an extension of its 1115 Medicaid Transformation Waiver. But TMA’s legislative recommendations go beyond the waiver to include a combination of state and federal approaches that:
- Use federal Medicaid dollars to extend coverage to low income working age adults, men and women between 18 and 64 years of age who earn less than 138% of the federal poverty level;
- Establish a state-administered reinsurance program to help reduce premiums for Texans enrolled in ACA Marketplace plans;
- Establish 12-months continuous coverage for children enrolled in Medicaid, which is the same benefit provided to children enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program; and
- Provide 12-months comprehensive postpartum coverage for women who lose Medicaid 60 days postpartum, the time during which more than one-third of maternal mortality and morbidity issues occur.
For more details on TMA’s recommendations, download this one-pager. You also can stay up to date on TMA’s testimony on this topic and others.
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Action Alerts arrive by email and will have a pre-written response, to which we strongly encourage you to add a personalized story or anecdote about how the proposed legislation will affect you, your patients, and your practice. You can access Action Alerts from the email you receive, our Grassroots Action Center, or the VoterVoice mobile app. Just click the link and go!
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