Hundreds of organizations from mostly southern parts of the United States are pleading with Congress to expand Medicaid in the 12 states that have refused to do so. Among those states is Texas, which has the highest uninsured rate in the country.
In a recent letter, roughly 400 organizations urged U.S. senators to prioritize closing the Medicaid coverage gap as they finalize a federal budget. The coverage gap refers to the people who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but too little to quality for the Affordable Care Act’s individual marketplace.
“Closing the coverage gap would mean that over two million uninsured Americans — most of them Black, Latino, Indigenous, and Asian, all of whom live below the poverty line — could finally get health coverage,” groups wrote.
In Texas, people of color — mostly Latinos — have been drastically more likely to be uninsured. So have their children.
Laura Guerra-Cardus, the deputy director of Children’s Defense Fund-Texas, told KUT that closing the Medicaid gap is “the most significant single thing” lawmakers can do to create more equity and address the structural racism within our health care system.
“This about correcting a system that has allowed some bad actors — predominately in southern former slave-holding states — to continue to deny access to health care to people of color,” she said.