Study shows disparities in access to affordable health care for Black and brown Texans

According to a new study, racial and ethnic disparities within Texas' health care system reveal Black and Latino Texans are less likely to have health insurance, access to medical facilities or preventative care.

A study released by the Commonwealth Fund spotlights racial and ethnic health disparities across all 50 states and Texas' overall health system performance is ranked one of the lowest in the nation.

Keisha Ray, PhD, assistant professor with the McGovern Center for Humanities & Ethics at UTHealth Houston, said the results of the study show what people of color in the Houston-area experience when it comes to access and affordability of health care.

"Those things really matter all the time, but they especially matter right now in the pandemic, when so much of our health affects other people," Dr. Ray said. "There are (also) ethnic disparities in things like access to education, access to transportation and access to proper housing and so it really does become this domino effect."

According to ABC News Equity Report, Houston's Black and Hispanic population has the highest percentage of people who do not have health insurance.

Dr. Cedric Dark, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said approximately 20 percent of Texans are not insured. More than 750,000 Texans fall into the Medicaid coverage gap which means they do not qualify for the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) subsidies and are not eligible for Medicaid coverage.

Texas lawmakers did not enact an expansion of Medicaid coverage during its latest legislative session, which would have helped closed the gap and allow thousands of Texas to qualify.

"We need to fix the Medicad gap in Texas and one of the best ways to do that is actually being debated right now in Congress," Dr. Dark said. "For those of you that are eligible, please go to healthcare.gov and sign up."

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