Health Care is Difficult to Afford, More Than Half of Texans Say
By David Doolittle


Health care is the toughest living expense for most Texans to afford, and many skip or postpone tests, medications, and basic procedures because of the cost. And that very well could be bad for their health, especially for the millions who lack insurance. 

Those are the findings of a statewide poll on the affordability of and access to health care in Texas published last month by the Episcopal Health Foundation.

The poll, which surveyed 1,210 Texans age 18 and older in January, underscores the financial burden of health care in Texas, which has more uninsured residents than any other state.

“Faced with costs they cannot afford, significant shares of the Texas general public report taking certain actions to reduce their medical costs, actions that could inadvertently compromise their overall well-being,” the foundation said in its report.

Among the report’s key findings:

  • 55% of Texans say it’s difficult for them to pay for health care, including more than a quarter (27%) who say it’s “very difficult;”
  • 60% say they or someone in their household skipped or postponed health care needs in the past 12 months;
  • 33% skipped a recommended test or treatment;
  • 31% didn’t fill a prescription;
  • 22% cut pills in half or skipped doses; and
  • 15% had problems getting mental health care.

Texas leads the nation in the number and percentage of uninsured adults younger than 65: almost 5 million – or about 17 percent of the population. “So it’s no surprise that uninsured are among the groups who say they’re most affected by health care affordability,” the foundation said. 

Among the poll’s findings on insurance: 

  • 85% of Texans without health insurance say they have difficulty affording health care;
  • 75% skipped or postponed care;
  • 53% say coverage is too expensive to afford; and
  • 15% cited other reasons for not being covered, such as employment issues. 

The Texas Medical Association pushed lawmakers this past legislative session to work to reduce Texas’ uninsured rate, including expanding Medicaid under certain conditions, and injecting $500 million in new state dollars into Medicaid payment rates. Those measures did not pass.

Last Updated On

July 02, 2019

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David Doolittle


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Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

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