Texas has both the largest number (4.7 million) and highest percentage (19 percent) of uninsured residents under age 65 in the country, according to a new Urban Institute analysis. Two-thirds of the uninsured are in families with at least one full- or part-time worker. The state ranks 34th in the 2017 issue of America’s Health Rankings, an annual state-by-state assessment of the nation’s health. Thirty-three percent of adult Texans are obese. The state’s maternal mortality rate is 34.2 per 100,000 live births, a rate that has increased 10 percent since 2016 and is one of the worst in the country. It ranks 47th in the number of primary care doctors per capita.
For the most part, the Texas Medical Association — the country’s largest state medical group — has championed doctors’ business interests and also lobbied against giving nurse practitioners more leeway to practice independently, as they do in neighboring states.
When the Texas Legislature convenes next month, the group will focus on “broken issues,” including freestanding ERs, Medicaid and overall access to care, said Dr. Douglas Curran, group president and a family physician in East Texas.