Since 2016, the total number of uninsured children in Texas has been on the rise.
According to a report from the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute released earlier this month, it’s estimated that 8.3 percent of Texas’ children under the age of six are uninsured. This number is nearly double that of the national average, 4.3 percent.
In 2018, Texas had more preschool-aged children than California, Florida, and Georgia combined.
Today, one in five of uninsured children in the United States live in Texas.
In Texas, a child’s insurance is based upon whether or not their parents are insured.
Texas has shown an aversion to government-mandated insurance with a general desire to keep taxes low. And after the Supreme Court ruled that states could not be forced to accept the Medicaid expansion, Texas opted to withdraw along with 13 other states.
This denied 1.4 million Texans of insurance who would otherwise have qualified for coverage.
Children undergo rapid development in the earliest stages of life, which makes the years before a child enters elementary a critical time to address any developmental delays or health conditions. If undiagnosed or treated, health problems could escalate into greater challenges and create larger gaps in the child’s development.
During the early stages of development it is critical to receive care from a pediatric physician. Regular check-ups allow health professionals to address health concerns early on as well as administrate needed vaccinations to prevent harmful disease.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that by the time a child is 15 months of age, a child should have gone to the doctor nine times for well-care visits, with one additional visit every following year. These check-ups allow for physicians to observe preliminary health risks that would impact a child’s development.
However, if uninsured, frequent visits to the doctor forces parents to weigh the financial risks with the health and wellbeing of one’s own child.
It is critical for Texas, the second-largest state in the United States, to prioritize the health and well being of their most vulnerablecitizens. Within the Texas legislature, there has been little action taken towards the insurance gaps seen among Texas’ children.