Excilla Ramirez’s two year old son may have health insurance, but that doesn’t mean she does.
“It’s hard, you can’t just go to the emergency room, you can’t just go to the doctor anytime you want; you’ve just got to tough it out,” said Ramirez.
Excilla joins the nearly six million other people in Texas that don’t have health insurance, making Texas the highest uninsured state in the country.
UHV Political Science Professor Gino Tozzi says one of the main reasons for that is Texas’s denial of Medicaid expansion.
“For one yes, it is conservative and it’s going to refuse federal money going to Medicare and Medicaid,” said Tozzi.
But he also said it has a lot to do with Texas being a border state.
“Another issue is the high number of immigrants, whether they be legal or illegal, whether they be citizens or non-citizens, you have a high number of people that are recent to the United States that don’t have much money,” said Tozzi.
But he said those who do have the insurance will be the ones who end up paying more.
“People that are relatively healthy, young will be paying more in premiums, people that are wealthy will be paying more in premiums, people that are low income won’t have to pay as much, and that will be an encouragement to get on the health care plan,” said Tozzi.
According to the RAND Corporation, health insurance premiums in Texas will be 9.3 percent higher due to limited public coverage.
But Excilla says higher premiums or not, she said everyone should eventually get coverage.
“No one would be as sick as they are now and people wouldn’t die as early as they do because they just don’t go to the emergency room, and they can’t afford any of it.”