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Home | Tag Archives: health care in texas

Tag Archives: health care in texas

Report: Texas losing ground on children’s health coverage

AUSTIN – After more than a decade of progress getting health coverage for more children in the U.S., a new report shows that nationally, more than 800,000 fewer children were enrolled in federal health programs at the end of 2018.

Anne Dunkelberg, associate director at the Center for Public Policy Priorities, says nearly 146,000 fewer children in Texas were enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

She says the new data is cause for alarm because it comes on the heels of the first reversal in coverage progress reported just a year ago.

“If you’re concerned about the future of Texas and our competitiveness and to have a strong, well educated work force, you have to be concerned with child well- being, and public schools are a part of that, and so is health care,” she stresses.

More than 3 million children in Texas currently are covered through Medicaid and another 400,000 through CHIP.

The Trump administration attributes drops in coverage to a strong economy and lower unemployment, factors that tend to move people from government programs to employer-sponsored health insurance.

Dunkelberg says many Texas families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but can’t afford employer-subsidized insurance, which costs up to a quarter of their gross income.

Report author Tricia Brooks, a senior fellow at the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, says employment and economic growth have been steady over the last decade, but the positive trend hasn’t translated into coverage gains for children.

“There was no surge in employment or real wage growth that would account for the enrollment plunge in 2018,” she points out. “There also is negligible evidence that any economic factors have substantially increased access to affordable private or employer-based coverage for low- to moderate-income families. ”

The report suggests other factors, including budget cuts to services helping families navigate the complicated enrollment process, have contributed to a drop in coverage.

Dunkelberg adds the Trump administration’s immigration policies also have created a chilling effect, and many Texas parents have to make difficult decisions.

“I can allow my U.S. citizen child to enroll in this health insurance program, or I can choose to stay out of it because as a family we are afraid that it’s going to keep mom or dad from getting their permanent resident status or becoming a U.S. citizen,” she states.

Author: Eric Galatas – Texas News Service

Foundation Investing $10 Million In Health Services in Texas

HOUSTON – Texas has the highest rate of uninsured people in the nation, according to census data. So one nonprofit is launching a big effort to try to get more Texans access to health services.

The Episcopal Health Foundation is investing $10 million in dozens of health programs in Texas. Brian Sasser, communications director with the foundation, says too many Texans suffer from health issues that should be preventable.

He says a major goal is to invest in preventive care along with treatments.

“The main point of these grants is not only to strengthen the systems of health,” says Sasser. “Meaning we get them in a system that takes care of all their wellbeing, not just one part of it. But also to become more accessible for people and more fair and equal for people.”

The grants range from about $130,000 to $1 million. They will fund homeless services, women’s health clinics, and groups working in low-income or minority communities. The grantees also include several programs that help people enroll in health insurance and follow up to make sure they receive care.

Sasser says the grants are meant to approach health from all angles. He says one grant program that does that well is CommUnity Care in Austin, where teams of professionals work together to address patients’ health issues.

“It does that both with medical procedures and with things outside of the doctor’s office like exercise and nutrition,” says Sasser. “And by working with the team together they’ve already shown improved health outcomes and it’s also led to substantially lower health care costs.”

Over the five year program, Sasser says the Episcopal Health Foundation hopes to see similar results around the state.

Author: Katherine Davis-Young, Public News Service (TX)

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