New Census Data Show Kids’ Health Coverage Must be a Priority for the Legislature

New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau show that Texas has the worst children’s uninsured rate in the nation. In 2022, the Census data show that 10.9 percent of Texas kids were uninsured, compared to 5.1 percent of kids nationwide.

The new data raise concerns that Texas kids could have more trouble going to check-ups, getting the medications they need, seeking out mental health support, and much more. 

This is a challenge that affects all communities throughout our state and therefore requires a state policy solution. In fact, according to the Census data, Texans of ALL racial/ethnic backgrounds identified in the survey — Asian, White, Black, Hispanic, and American Indian — have higher uninsured rates than the national average. The data also reveal significant racial/ethnic disparities.

There are multiple steps that Texas policymakers should take to address this challenge. Today, we want to highlight two of them:

  • This year, the state has eliminated Medicaid health insurance for over 400,000 Texas kids without concluding the process to determine if they are still eligible. State leaders need to ensure that eligible children can remain enrolled if they already have Medicaid coverage. Policymakers should also ensure that eligible kids who lose their coverage, or eligible children who are signing up for the first time, can enroll in Medicaid without facing months of delays.
  • During the regular legislative session this year, the Texas House showed strong support for helping eligible children enroll in health coverage when their parents provide affirmative consent. Specifically, the House overwhelmingly passed HB 1599 by Reps. Bucy, Harless, Oliverson, Jetton and Bonnen to use already-verified information to facilitate health coverage enrollment for currently eligible children through an “Express Lane” option. Unfortunately, the bill did not pass the Senate. The bill should be a priority this interim as lawmakers prepare for the next legislative session.

We look forward to working with our partners and legislators to reduce the state’s shameful uninsured rate for kids and ensure that Texas kids can get the health care they need.