News Roundup: Texas Has Highest Rate Of Uninsured People In The Country – Again

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelSeptember 14, 2018 11:50 am

Texas has had the highest rate of uninsured people in the country for decades, and 2017 was no different.

New figures the U.S. Census Bureau released this week show just over 17 percent of Texans don’t have health coverage. That translates to about 4.8 million people.

While it might seem counterintuitive, kids in Texas are more likely to have health care coverage than working age adults.

“Kids have access to Medicaid coverage and at slightly higher incomes the Children’s Health Insurance Program or CHIP – that is the difference,” says Anne Dunkleberg with the Center for Public Policy Priorities, a progressive Austin-based think tank. “Kids are less than half as likely to be uninsured as our working age adults,” she continues. “So this is really our challenge now … to create some realistic solutions to a decent standard of healthcare for our poor and low income working families in Texas.”

Dunkleberg adds one way Texas could ensure more people have health coverage is to expand Medicaid. She explains without that, the poorest working adults are left in a kind of healthcare gap.

“That essentially means – and a lot of people don’t really understand – that there are no subsidies for you to buy private insurance, like there would be if you made more money,” Dunkleberg says. “And there’s also no Medicaid for you as an adult – and we really need to do that. And the folks who have analyzed the national data for every state have showed that the states that have done Medicaid expansion are doing much better on their uninsured rates.”

Texas is one of 14 states that saw their uninured rate worsen in 2017. 10 of those states, including Texas, have not yet expanded Medicaid.

Millennials in Texas cities have some of the highest amounts of debt in the country, according to a new report by finance and loan website LendingTree.

From KETR, Scott Morgan reports that millennials in San Antonio shoulder the largest debt load in the U.S., at just above $27,000. Austin’s millennial don’t fare much better, in third place on the list. Average debts in the age group there are more than $26,000 – and that doesn’t account for mortgage or home finance debts. Debts in the report are mainly car loans, credit cards, and student loans. Texas had four cities in the top ten most debt-heavy metros for millennials, with Houston and Dallas placed fourth and sixth on the list, respectively. Millennial debt in those cities is above $25,000.

The State Board of Education is meeting again today for votes on updates to social studies curriculum standards. These guidelines shape the content of history, government, and economics lessons for the more than five million public school students in the state.

The Austin American-Statesman reports one preliminary change the board adopted earlier this week emphasizes that slavery was the central cause of the Civil War. Current guidelines have been criticized for describing slavery as a secondary cause.

Final votes on these standards are set for November.