Hispanic Americans in every U.S. state are more likely to be uninsured than the general population and other minorities, according to new data from the Census Bureau.
The new numbers find that more than 40 percent of Hispanics who live in southern states like Mississippi and North Carolina don’t have basic health insurance. All told, nearly a third of Hispanics are uninsured in over half of all U.S. states — a far higher figure than other minority groups such as African Americans:
CREDIT: Washington Post/U.S. Census Bureau
The insurance gap underscores how critical Obamacare implementation will be for Hispanics — and specifically, Latinos — living in America. High population states with large Hispanic communities stand to benefit the most from the health law’s optional Medicaid expansion and subsidies for individual policies that can be purchased through statewide insurance marketplaces. For instance, more than 15 million of the 48 million uninsured Americans live in California, Texas, and Florida alone — and the vast majority of them are Hispanic.
Getting health benefits through Medicaid or the Obamacare marketplaces could help these Americans afford to manage chronic conditions that disproportionately affect them, such as diabetes. Latinos tend to have type-2 diabetes at almost double the rate that non-Latinos do.
Unfortunately, stubborn GOP opposition to Obamacare is likely to deny health coverage to millions of these Americans. Approximately 57 percent of all uninsured Hispanics live at or below 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. States that expand Medicaid under Obamacare will get generous federal funding to provide public insurance to Americans at that income level. But almost every state with the highest rates of uninsured Hispanics, including Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi, and North Carolina, has refused to expand Medicaid under reform.