While still just a fraction of the state’s population of uninsured that exceeds six million, it is encouraging that so many Texans purchased private coverage through the federally facilitated marketplace.
More needs to be done, however, to connect low-wage working families who are excluded from the private insurance market with affordable coverage options.
Texas rejected new federal funds — $3.6 billion in 2014 alone — to develop a Texas coverage solution for low-wage working families who do not earn enough to qualify for Marketplace coverage. As a result, more than one million Texans will continue to be uninsured and rely on hospital emergency departments and clinics for health care ranging from primary care to critical care.
“Texans work hard for their paychecks, but our federal income tax dollars are going to other states because the state’s leadership said no to connecting low-wage working families with health insurance options” said Ted Shaw, THA president/CEO. “Other states have proposed innovative private-market solutions to expand coverage using available federal funding, and Texas should follow their lead.”
Without a Texas coverage solution, Texas hospitals will see little relief from their uncompensated care burden, valued at more than $5.5 billion each year. This cost is shifted onto those with private health insurance, property taxpayers and local governments. Private health insurance premiums are an average of $1,800 a year higher because of the need to cover the costs for the uninsured. Local property taxes pay for uninsured services amounting to more than $1 billion.
About the THA:
Founded in 1930, the Texas Hospital Association is the leadership organization and principal advocate for the state’s hospitals and health care systems. Based in Austin, THA enhances its members’ abilities to improve accessibility, quality and cost-effectiveness of health care for all Texans. One of the largest hospital associations in the country, THA represents more than 85 percent of the state’s acute-care hospitals and health care systems, which employ some 369,000 health care professionals statewide. Learn more about THA at www.tha.org or follow THA on Twitter @texashospitals.