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As House Republicans Defund Obamacare, Census Data Reaffirms Texans' Need for Health Coverage

by: Katie Singh

Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 03:00 PM CDT

Ted Cruz may have given up trying to defund Obamacare, but that hasn't stopped House Republicans from continuing to chase their favorite windmill.

Today, the House passed a measure that blocks funding for the Affordable Care Act but temporarily keeps the government running, avoiding a government shutdown for now. The bill marks the 41st time the House has passed an anti-Obamacare bill. Like the previous 40, this measure will now go to the Senate where the provisions defunding Obamacare will certainly be removed. It remains to be seen whether Republicans will then push for a government shutdown that nobody wants, or finally accept reality and defeat.

Today's bill passed the House in a vote of 230-189. Unsurprisingly, the Texas Republican delegation voted in favor of the bill. Their vote comes just days after the Census Bureau released its latest data on insurance coverage in US, which found that yet again, Texas has the highest rate of uninsured people in the nation. According to the Census Bureau, 24.6% of Texans, or 6.4 million people, are currently without health insurance.

Read more about the Census findings after the jump.

The Census report also found that over 852,000 Texas children are living without health insurance. This means that Texas is home to the largest number of uninsured children in the nation. However, the number has significantly dropped from 15 years ago--over the past decade and a half, the number of uninsured children fell from 1 in 4 to 1 in 6, or 16.4%. This drop has been thanks to Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), effective programs that Texas Republicans are now more than happy to cut.

In addition, the Census report found that Texas has the highest rate of people living in poverty who are uninsured, at 55%. But thanks to Rick Perry's continued refusal to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid, most of these people will remain uninsured. As the Center for Public Policy Priorities' Anne Dunkelberg explained, "the parents in a family of four making $25,000 can apply for a generous subsidy through the [ACA's new] health insurance marketplace, but the parents in a family of four making $22,000 won't be eligible for help."

Nonetheless, Rick Perry has continued to insist that refusing to cooperate with the ACA's Medicaid provisions is the right choice for Texas. On Monday, he renewed his opposition to expanding Medicaid, instead laying out a plan to request a block grant from Obama administration for Medicaid that would let Perry reform the program without following any of the provisions in the Affordable Care Act. If Perry had chosen to accept federal Medicaid expansion funds, up to 2 million Texans could have gained access to health insurance.

This Census data highlights the fact that Texans desperately need better access to affordable health insurance. Whether it's Governor Perry's Medicaid obstruction or House Republicans' repeated votes to block the ACA, Republican opposition to the Affordable Care Act is the wrong choice for Texas.

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