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The U.S. Health Care System Is a Disaster. In Texas, It’s Even Worse.

Second-Most Populous State Leads Nation in Uninsured Adults and Children, and Pharmaceutical Spending

Second-Most Populous State Leads Nation in Uninsured Adults and Children, and Pharmaceutical Spending

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the Democratic presidential debate being held in Houston this week, Public Citizen is releasing a new report that calls attention to severe problems with health care in Texas and highlights the need for Medicare for All, especially in the Lone Star State.

Medicare for All – a health care system that would allow Americans to ditch greedy insurers but maintain their existing care – has become a marquee issue in the presidential race. Some candidates have embraced it as the best way to fight back against Big Pharma, the insurance industry and others who defend the current for-profit system, which leaves many regular Americans not only sick, but broke.

“Everything is bigger in Texas – including, apparently, the unnecessary suffering and loss of life caused by our failing for-profit health care system,” said Adrian Shelley, director of Public Citizen’s Texas office. “Only a universal, Medicare for All system can cure the disease of Big Insurance and Big Pharma greed that’s sickening millions of Texans.”

Texas is a prime example of why the current, privatized U.S. health care system is a disaster. Among the problems highlighted in the report:

  • Texas has 4.8 million uninsured people – more than any other state. More than one in five Texans have no health insurance, the highest percentage of any state and double the national average.
  • Nearly 11% of Texas kids – 835,000 in all – are uninsured. One-fifth, or 20%, of all uninsured children in the U.S. live in Texas.
  • Texans are struggling to pay for overpriced medicines. While Big Pharma gets more money in retail sales from Texans than every other state except California, more than a third of Texans cut corners on their prescriptions – skipping dosages, delaying prescription refills and requesting cheaper medicines.
  • The infant mortality rate in Texas is 5.9 per 1,000 births, slightly higher than the national average, but disgraceful racial and ethnic disparities also exist. Non-Hispanic white Texans have half the infant mortality rate of non-Hispanic black Texans (4.8 versus 10.1, respectively). Hispanic Texans have a slightly higher rate: 5.3 per 1,000 births.
  • The maternal mortality rate is 14.6 per 100,000 births – and nearly twice that (27.8 per 100,000 births) for black women. The numbers are dismal compared to countries with a single-payer health care system, such as Canada (7.3 per 100,000) and the United Kingdom (9.2 per 100,000).

Learn more about Public Citizen’s Medicare for All campaign.