Millions of our state’s most vulnerable populations do not have health insurance – more than double the national average. Further, an estimated 54% of Austin area residents making less than $55,000 a year do not receive paid sick leave benefits. These issues have almost certainly worsened due to COVID-19 and the related economic fallout and job losses.
Currently, Texas is one of only 12 states that have not yet chosen to expand health insurance coverage to low-income adults. While the primary reason to expand health insurance is human health and wellness, providing adequate resources for health insurance also makes economic sense. According to a recent study of Texas’ Medicaid coverage, an estimated 954,000 newly eligible adults would enroll in insurance coverage if an expansion were available, bringing approximately $5.41 billion in federal dollars annually to the state.
This report from The Perryman Group demonstrates how Texas could alleviate problems caused by the state’s uninsured rate by expanding health insurance coverage using available federal funds, as well as benefit from notable economic gains.
In addition to enhancing the health and wellbeing of those who receive insurance coverage, expanded coverage contributes to fewer emergency room visits, improved health outcomes, enhanced employment and productivity, reduced morbidity and mortality, and reduced costs of uncompensated care, among other beneficial outcomes.
Over the next 10 years, the benefits of implementing expanded health insurance coverage become clear, with estimates increasing to $244.7 billion in output, $158.9 billion in personal income, and well over 2.1 million job-years of employment. A breakdown of the economic benefits is as follows:
1 Dague, Laura and Constance Hughes, “County-Level Projections of Medicaid Expansion’s Impact in Texas,” September 2020