Child Health

21 Reasons to Expand Medicaid in 2021

January 29, 2021 | Texas

By Lauren Rangel, Ana Ruiz, and Emma Kypuros

Texas has the largest uninsured rate in the nation. Texans are struggling with medical debt. Rural hospitals are shuttering their doors.  Last year alone, over 1.6 million Texans lost a job, and with it, their health insurance. Far too many of our frontline workers are risking their lives for us when they don’t have insurance themselves. Who is taking care of them? 

This session, Texas leaders have the opportunity to provide relief to over a million Texans and our state budget by expanding Medicaid. The $10 billion federal dollars that will flow into our state annually from expansion will stimulate our economy and give Texans all over the state the coverage they deserve. 

There are so many reasons to expand Medicaid, but we boiled it down to 21 reasons Texas leaders must take action in 2021. If you are fired up about #MedEx4TX after reading our blog, you can send a letter to your state leaders here to urge them to fight for coverage expansion today!

    1. Expanding Medicaid creates jobs. The federal dollars Medicaid expansion brings in will stimulate tens of thousands of jobs. It helps hospitals, doctor’s offices, and pharmacists stay strong, supporting health care jobs, construction work, and local small businesses.
    2. &nbsp

    3. Expanding Medicaid helps cover more children. Too many children in Texas who are eligible for Medicaid aren’t enrolled. Extending coverage to their parents helps connect their children to insurance, too. Medicaid expansion is an investment in healthy Texas children.
    4. &nbsp

    5. Expanding Medicaid is a step towards racial justice in our health system. Roughly 70% of uninsured Texans who could gain coverage under Medicaid expansion are either Black or Hispanic. Texas must pass Medicaid expansion to take a positive step toward racial equity in healthcare. Beyond supporting equity in healthcare outcomes, studies have shown that Medicaid expansion narrows disparities in employment, educational attainment, and financial stability.
    6. &nbsp

    7. Expanding Medicaid helps working Texans- including many frontline workers. Many frontline workers, small business employees, farmers, service industry workers, and self-employed Texans do not have health insurance and can’t afford it out-of-pocket. Medicaid expansion will bring in millions of federal dollars to help these working Texans access care!
    8. &nbsp

    9. Expanding Medicaid connects moms to comprehensive care. Currently, Texas moms only receive postpartum check ups for two months after birth. That’s not enough—especially when most of our state’s maternal deaths take place after two months, and most are preventable. Medicaid expansion will give them a pathway for continued coverage. 
    10. &nbsp

    11. Expanding Medicaid creates a healthier workforce-and saves employers money too! When working Texans have insurance, they are healthier. That means fewer sick days and less turnover—a benefit for Texas employers, too!
    12. &nbsp

    13. Expanding Medicaid supports thousands of Texas veterans. Texas has the highest number of uninsured veterans and spouses of any state in the nation at 246,086. Texas must safeguard the health of those veterans who have bravely served our country.
    14. &nbsp

    15. Expanding Medicaid takes pressure off local taxpayers. When our neighbors go without insurance, they rely on the ER to access medical care. For patients, this means medical debt. For hospitals, this often means unpaid bills, which are passed onto taxpayers. 
    16. &nbsp

    17. Expanding Medicaid improves parents’ health. Many Texas parents whose children receive Medicaid have no access to care themselves. There are about 3.2 million children on Medicaid, and only about 150,000 parents.  When parents are healthier, their kids are healthier too. 
    18. &nbsp

    19. Expanding Medicaid helps Texans detect illness early. When Texans have insurance, they are more likely to receive preventive care, detect illness early, and require less expensive treatment. Unfortunately, uninsured Texans often have to put off doctors visits because they can’t afford health care. 
    20. &nbsp

    21. Expanding Medicaid frees up hospitals to tackle other community needs. When Texans have coverage, hospitals have fewer unpaid bills and more resources to tackle local needs like mental health and substance use disorder treatment. 
    22. &nbsp

    23. Expanding Medicaid better serves cancer patients and pregnant moms. Right now these patients only receive limited services but Medicaid expansion will provide these Texans with comprehensive and uninterrupted care- while saving the state $106 million annually.
    24. &nbsp

    25. Expanding Medicaid strengthens Texans’ access to qualified providers across the state. By both helping physicians stay in business and incentivizing new physicians to practice in the state, Medicaid expansion will make it easier for Texans to find a doctor close to home. This is crucial for rural Texans, many who currently drive to big cities to see a doctor or specialist.
    26. &nbsp

    27. Expanding Medicaid connects unhoused Texans to healthcare treatment. Many of the 25,000 unhoused Texans would become eligible for comprehensive coverage under expansion. Without it, a person experiencing homelessness will likely only access care in the case of an emergency. Learn more:
    28. &nbsp

    29. Expanding Medicaid can reduce health insurance premiums for both businesses and families.You heard that rightwhen more Texans are covered, there are fewer unpaid medical bills, and health insurance is more affordable for all Texans. This is because as the costs  of unpaid hospital bills decrease, the costs that insurance companies pass on to consumers are reduced.
    30. &nbsp

    31. Expanding Medicaid will help Texans access to mental and behavioral health treatment. An estimated 400,000 uninsured Texans in the Medicaid gap have mental health diagnoses or substance use disorders. Studies have shown that, “adult Texans who have health insurance are up to 50% more likely to receive treatment for mental illness or substance abuse than their uninsured peers.” Treating behavioral health conditions has also been shown to decrease unemployment and decrease criminal justice costs.
    32. &nbsp

    33. Expanding Medicaid takes pressure off local property taxes. By reducing the cost of services to the uninsured, Medicaid expansion frees up local money that leaders can re-invest elsewhere—like supportive services, public health, and more!
    34. &nbsp

    35. Expanding Medicaid supports Texas women. Nearly 786,000 women would gain coverage via Medicaid expansion.
    36. &nbsp

    37. Expanding Medicaid helps rural hospitals stay open. More rural hospitals have closed in Texas than in any other state. Dozens more are in jeopardy of shuttering their doors without federal funding from Medicaid Expansion. Rural hospitals are essential for the survival of rural communities- they provide both healthcare and good jobs.
    38. &nbsp

    39. Expanding Medicaid will boost the economy. In addition to the $10 billion in annual federal funds and over millions more in annual programs savings, Medicaid expansion will create jobs, increase economic activity, and generate sales tax revenue.
    40. &nbsp

    41. Expanding Medicaid is popular- In fact most Texans want Medicaid expansion! A new report by the HobbySchool found that as many as 69% of Texans want Medicaid expansion. A 2018 Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 60% of Texans support Medicaid expansion- meaning support for expansion is growing across the state!