Texas has the worst health care in the nation, with more 25 percent of Texans – 6.2 million people – uninsured. And last month, Texas became the largest state whose governor has committed to turning down the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid funds or establish a health insurance exchange. According to a new analysis by the Center for American Progress, Republican Gov. Rick Perry’s decision is especially harmful to Latinos, who make up 18.7 percent of Texas’s population.
A full 38 percent of the nonelderly Latino population in Texas is uninsured, compared to 17 percent of white Texans and 26 percent of Texans of color. Austin’s Center for Public Policy Priorities found that expanding Medicaid would immediately insure 2 million Texans, and this would provide health care to hundreds of thousands of Latinos and address health problems particularly harmful to Latinos.
Latinos are significantly less likely to receive preventative care than other groups. Latinos are also more likely to have chronic diseases such as diabetes. Latino women contract cervical cancer at twice the rate of white women, further highlighting the need for better preventative care in the Latino community.
With billions in newly available Medicaid funds making health insurance affordable for people who couldn’t previously afford it, Latinos would be much more likely to receive the preventative care they need to have healthy lives. The Department of Health and Human Services predicts that, if adopted, the Affordable Care Act will “significantly improve health outcomes for Latinos.”
Unless Perry changes his mind drastically, Texas Latinos are unlikely to have the opportunity to take full advantage of the Affordable Care Act. Perry joins Republican governors across the country in taking a political stance against Obamacare, turning down $258 billion in federal health dollars and leaving 9.2 million Americans uninsured in the process.