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Health care numbers moving in the wrong direction

  • This screen grab shows the main page of the website in Washington, on May 21. A new study says fewer people are insured. Photo: /Associated Press /



More people are uninsured in Texas and across America.

Those are the findings of a recent Commonwealth Fund tracking survey. About 15.5 percent of adults ages 19 to 64 lack health insurance. That’s up from 12.7 percent in 2016. That represents about 4 million people who went from insured to uninsured.

What’s particularly distressing is these numbers are moving the wrong way when the economy is strong. Unemployment is low. Consumer confidence is high. And, yet, the uninsured rate is up.

The study did not offer state-specific data. But it found the biggest increases in the ranks of uninsured were happening in Republican-led states, the South and states that did not expand Medicaid. All three apply to Texas.

And Texas indeed leads the way in the number of uninsured. As the Houston Chronicle’s Jenny Deam reported, about 4.5 million Texans lack health insurance. This includes 700,000 kids. Not a top ranking to be proud of.

This increase in the uninsured is as unnecessary as it is unsurprising. Under President Donald J. Trump, the Affordable Care Act’s coverage mandate has been repealed, the window of time to sign up for coverage has been cut in half and promotion of the Affordable Care Act has been slashed. Congress has failed to stabilize marketplaces, meaning rates are likely to continue to rise.

There is no benefit, or freedom, in having fewer people insured. It’s an invitation for financial ruin and failed health.

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