Friday, August 19, 2011

Another liberal talking point about Texas

One statistic that we’re likely to be hearing a lot over the next few months, and over the next year if Gov. Rick Perry becomes the nominee, is that Texas has the highest uninsured rate of any state in the nation, with one out of every four residents lacking health coverage (or 25.6 percent).

Those poor, poor Texans. And it must be Perry's fault to treat Texans so mean. (Perry has already been called "Perry the Meany")

But not so fast, batman! Statistics are useless unless you dig into the data and find out why the numbers are what they are.

The following facts are based on an article in the Washington Examiner:

1. Census data on the number of uninsured are often misunderstood or intentionally distorted.

2. The high proportion of Hispanic immigrants, a community that has a higher than average uninsured rate. In fact, if you look at the Census data on the uninsured, the four states that border Mexico are among the top six states when it comes to the uninsured rate: Texas (1), New Mexico (2), Arizona (5), and California (6). The top 10 included other states in the general neighborhood: Nevada (4) and Louisiana (10); and Florida (3), which also has a high Hispanic immigrant population.

3. It has been estimated that in 2006, 29 percent of the state’s uninsured were illegal immigrants.

4. Texas has a younger population than the national average, and as noted above, many young people don’t purchase insurance because they don’t feel they need it.

5. Another factor is that despite being a low regulation state in many ways, Texas actually ranks fourth when it comes to mandating insurers offer certain benefits in all of their policies, according to a Council on Affordable Health Insurance report. Texas has 60 such mandates driving up the cost of insurance, such as making sure policies cover in vitro fertilization and morbid obesity treatment. Perry opposed most of these mandates, but was overridden by the State Legislature.

Perry will have a tough time defending the insured rate in Texas, because the underlying reasons are complicated, which can't be crammed into a 30-second sound bite.

And then, if you're a liberal, you won't listen anyway.

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