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Texas’s Health Care Decision Hurts Latinos

Texas's decision to not expand Medicaid or establish a health insurance exchange especially hurts the state's Latino population.

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On June 28 the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate provision in the Affordable Care Act but gave states the option to reject billions in new Medicaid expansion funds included in the law. This creates uncertainty for millions of Americans but particularly for Latinos. Even though 9 million low-income Latinos would gain coverage from the expanded Medicaid eligibility, some states are turning down the funds.

Take Texas. The state has the worst overall health care, but as of this week Gov. Rick Perry proudly announced that Texas will not expand Medicaid or establish a health insurance exchange.

Texas is one of the 26 states that sued the federal government regarding the health care law and is one of the first states to officially decide to opt out of the billions of dollars in federal Medicaid support over the next six years—plus the continued support for expansion costs for 90 percent of total Medicaid program costs thereafter.

Jennifer Witte reviews what Texas’s decision means for the state’s Latinos—many of whom lack health insurance and would have benefited from the expansion.

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