Grantees show consequences of Texas blocking access to health coverage

State Sen. Nathan Johnson, a Democrat from Dallas, has made Medicaid expansion in Texas a priority during his first term. None of his bills has succeeded, but he's determined to break through Republican opposition if he wins another term. Credit: Jordan Vonderhaar

Texas has the nation’s highest rate of people without health insurance, and grantees Kim Krisberg and David Leffler dug into data undercutting the state’s claims in refusing to expand Medicaid. With a grant from the Fund, the reporters wrote for Public Health Watch (co-published in the Texas Tribune) that Texas rebuffs $5 billion in federal funds every year by not expanding Medicaid to provide coverage to more low-income people. Gov. Greg Abbott has claimed that Texans could get health insurance through their employers instead, but the reporters found this is a false promise, as less than 25% of businesses with 50 workers or less provide health insurance. Texas’ Medicaid program is so restrictive that parents in a family of three are denied coverage if they earn more than $4,000 a year.