Texas kids need to be healthy to make it to school each day and focus in the classroom. They need to be able to go to check-ups where they can get immunizations and doctors can spot developmental delays that might require occupational therapy or speech therapy. Children need to quickly get a diagnosis and appropriate medical care when they're sick, whether it's a routine case of strep throat or a scary battle with cancer.
Unfortunately, yesterday the US Census Bureau released new data showing that many Texas kids aren't able to get the health care they need.
The new data show that the uninsured rate for kids in Texas is far worse than the rate in any other state. In fact, the Texas rate of 11.2 percent is twice as high as the national rate of 5.5 percent.
Our Communications Director, Peter Clark, explained some of the big takeaways yesterday in this video:
As Peter said, the children's uninsured rate in Texas has been a problem for many years, but now it's getting worse. The rate increased each of the last two years, driven in large part by falling enrollment in Children's Medicaid and CHIP.
So now we need to roll up our sleeves and redouble our efforts to make sure Texas kids have the health coverage they need.
One way we can start to reverse this trend is by reducing the extra rounds of red tape that knock eligible children out of Medicaid. During the recent legislative session, we worked with Reps. James Frank and Philip Cortez, as well as our partners, on a bipartisan first step that successfully passed the Texas House. Unfortunately, it came up short in the Senate and failed to become law, just like the bills legislators filed to reduce the uninsured rate for new moms and other Texans.
So we need to make sure that this issue — and health coverage in general — is front and center on lawmakers' agenda during the next legislative session.
You can also help by highlighting this issue on social media:
What else can Texans do?
We need to cut through the misinformation that families are hearing about the new federal Public Charge rule for green card applicants. Due to fear and confusion about the rule, many families are pulling their US citizen kids out Medicaid, CHIP, and other programs. Mixed status families should know that they can keep their children enrolled in these important programs.
Thank you for working with us to help keep Texas kids healthy!