Census Data: Texas has highest rate of uninsured children

Census Data: Texas has highest rate of uninsured children

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

The streak continues -- Texas, for the third consecutive year, has the highest rate of uninsured children, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Texas State Senator Charles Perry said choosing healthcare coverage is about more than just affordability.

"As those illegal undocumented families cross into Texas and become a part of our public school system, it absolutely does contribute to the overall numbers of uninsured," state Sen. Perry (R-Lubbock) said. 

Michelle Hunter, with the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, said the high uninsured rate then has a ripple effect.

"If you have uninsured children, where do those children go when they don't have health coverage? They're going to spread whatever illnesses they may have to others, which ultimately is going to affect our community," Hunter said.

Hunter said another big issue with uninsured rates is abusing emergency rooms for routine care. 

"If you do have an uninsured child and they have to be seen, and they do become sick, they have to go somewhere. So where are they going to go? The emergency rooms," Hunter said.

At the end of the day, state Sen. Perry said there is only so much he can do at the state level to change the trajectory of this rate, and that it's time for national lawmakers to wake up.

"Until our administrations, whether Democrat or Republican, get off of the politics and start solving the problems of the day, it's hard for states to respond because so much of our healthcare system is federally subsidized through Medicare and Medicaid," state Sen. Perry said.

Open enrollment in Texas runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15.

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