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Red states have significantly higher uninsured rates than blue states

Obamacare has made it a mission to get health insurance to every American, and it’s pretty close to that with an 8.6 percent rate nationally — a record low.

But state rates vary drastically. WalletHub broke down the uninsured rates by city and state, and even age, race, and household income. Texas ranks dead last with a 17.1 percent uninsured rate, double the national average.

On average, WalletHub says that “blue” states (meaning, tending to support Democrats) have fewer uninsured residents than “red” states. Blue states have an average of 17 percent uninsured while red states average 34.71 percent.

“Obamacare is not perfect but unless and until we have a Congress that will try and work on this together, we are stuck with what we have,” says Carolyn Long Engelhard, associate professor of Public Health Sciences and Public Policy at the University of Virginia.

Engelhard is not alone. Edward J. Schumacher, a professor and chair of health care administration at Trinity University, says a Donald Trump presidency could drastically affect the nearly 20 million Americans that are currently insured under the Affordable Care Act.

“If Trump is elected and is successful in getting the ACA repealed, huge numbers of people will lose their insurance,” he says. “To my knowledge, Trump really has no approach for what to replace the ACA with.”

The worst states (and some very bad cities)

While Texas ranks at the bottom, there are other states that are not far behind, and they’re all considered red states…

  • Alaska (14.86 percent)
  • Oklahoma (13.9)
  • Georgia (13.85)
  • Florida (13.33)
  • Mississippi (12.69)
  • Nevada (12.28)
  • Louisiana (11.95)
  • Montana (11.65)
  • Wyoming (11.53)

When broken down by city, Texas also has eight of the top 10 highest uninsured rates. Out of 548 cities that were measured, Pharr, Texas is the worst with more than one-third of residents being uninsured (33.68 percent). Brownsville, Texas is next with 29.36 percent.

Two New Jersey cities made the bottom 10 list — Union City and Elizabeth — but the state overall has pretty average standing, ranking 26th in the nation for uninsured rates. Only Texas and New Jersey had locations in the top 10 most uninsured cities.

Uninsured rates higher among minorities

Mississippi already has it bad. They’re 45th overall, with 12.69 percent of the state being uninsured. But when broken down by race, they have the most uninsured Hispanics in the country, with 37.57 percent. According to Pew, Mississippi had 80,000 Hispanics as late as 2014, so that means more than 30,000 of them are currently uninsured.

For blacks, Montana is the worst state to be in when it comes to health insurance. In last place, Montana has 17.41 percent of blacks that are uninsured, and blacks make up less than one percent of the population (almost 90 percent of the state is white). That means out of the nearly 6,198 blacks in the state, more than 1,000 of them do not have health insurance. Montana already ranks 42nd in the nation for highest uninsured rates.

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Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn


Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.



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