Health care is high on the ballot in Texas, the uninsured capital of the United States


Texas border towns are among the most uninsured pockets of the United States, where as many as one in four people lack health coverage — and cannot afford it under the current system.

Meanwhile, the Lone Star state is the uninsured capital of the country with 17.3 per cent of its residents lacking health care insurance, compared to a national uninsured average of 8.7 per cent, according to the latest data provided by the US Census Bureau.

The issue has found its way to the core of the 2018 midterm elections, threatening to unseat the state’s local leadership with a swath of progressive candidates vowing major reforms if elected in November. A Democrat has not been elected to statewide office since 1994.

“My mom is a resident alien currently, so it’s a strong issue in my family,” Haley Smith, a San Antonio resident, tells The Independent about why she is voting in November. “But I’m also really concerned about our state’s health care issue, as I’m a nurse, and it’s very, very important to me that all people can have access.”

Nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) of Texas voters said they will likely only support a candidate who promises to make fixing health care a priority, according to the Texas Medical Centre’s fourth annual national consumer survey, released in September.

The centre surveyed over 1,000 voters across the state, as well as more than 5,000 people across the country, for its report titled “The Nation’s Pulse”.

Expanding Medicaid has widespread support on both sides of the aisle in Texas, according to the survey, which shows at least 60 per cent of voters favour broadening the health care programme.

That support a joint Kaiser Family Foundation and Episcopal Health Foundation survey published in June, which found 64 per cent of Texas support a Medicaid expansion.

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