When the coronavirus pandemic emerged in March 2020, the U.S. government issued a requirement that states could no longer kick people off Medicaid during the public health emergency. The purpose was to prevent people on Medicaid—a government-run health care policy—from being left without insurance on short notice.
That requirement is still in place two years later, but health care advocates in Texas and Houston said they are worried about what could happen when it ends and millions of people have their safety nets put into jeopardy. The Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, estimated as many as 1.3 million Texans could be deemed ineligible for Medicaid once the public health emergency ends. Roughly 3.7 million of the 5.2 million Texans enrolled in Medicaid will have their eligibility redetermined once the emergency ends, according to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. About 75.9% of Texas Medicaid enrollees are children, according to the HHSC.
According to census data released in March, Texas has a disproportionate rate of uninsured individuals com•pared to the national average. In 2020, the national uninsured rate fell to 8.7% from 15% in 2013. According to U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey results, Texas’ uninsured rate was double the national average at 17.3%•.