Texas has the largest uninsured population and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) decided to pin the blame on undocumented immigrants at a Dallas press conference this past Friday. “We have the highest number of uninsured. Mostly because of the illegal immigrant population,” said Hutchison.
However, state hospital officials were quick to point out that Hutchison is wrong. Ann Ward, Vice President with the Texas Hospital Association, points out:
“People say illegal immigrants are a large part of the uninsured population but the studies I’ve seen by the Texas Department of Insurance, it’s less than 20 percent of uninsured are illegal immigrants. And one thing we know, many of the people who come to hospitals for care. They pay, they pay cash.”
Ward explains that Texas has the highest rate of uninsured because of the large number of low-wage workers who cannot afford private insurance and the small business which do not offer their employees health care benefits. Another national study shows that U.S. citizens make up the majority of the nonelderly uninsured (78%), while legal and undocumented immigrants account for only 22%.