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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Nearly 4 Million Texans at Risk of Losing Health Coverage During Coronavirus Pandemic

Posted By on Wed, May 13, 2020 at 1:07 PM

click to enlarge A worker at a drive-through testing facility in San Antonio prepares to collect a sample from someone in a vehicle. - COURTESY PHOTO / CITY OF SAN ANTONIO
  • Courtesy Photo / City of San Antonio
  • A worker at a drive-through testing facility in San Antonio prepares to collect a sample from someone in a vehicle.
A new study by the Urban Institute found more than 3.9 million Texans are at risk of losing employer-sponsored health insurance as COVID-19 continues to decimate the job market.

"Thirty million workers filed initial unemployment claims between March 15 and April 25," according to the study, which was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "Near-term forecasts suggest the unemployment rate will likely be between 15 to 20 percent by June."

Around 25 million or more workers across the U.S. may lose their coverage during the pandemic, according to the Urban Institute's number crunching.

Some Americans would be able to apply for Medicaid in states that have expanded the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, according to the study. However, Texas is among 15 U.S. states that have opted out of that expansion, meaning options here would be far more limited.

Meanwhile, Republican leaders continue to pursue a suit in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to kill off the ACA. Dismantling the law would kick the legs out from under the unemployed and allow insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, critics argue.

Earlier this month, even as some members of his own administration privately advised against killing off the ACA during a pandemic, the president himself appeared to double down on his desire to repeal it.

“We want to terminate health care under Obamacare,” President Donald Trump told reporters last week. “Obamacare, we run it really well. . . . But running it great, it’s still lousy health care.”

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Avery Jaffe said Republican members of Texas' congressional delegation, including San Antonio and Hill Country Rep. Chip Roy, continue to support eliminating the ACA without first creating a replacement.

“If Texas Republicans win their lawsuit to dismantle America’s health care system, it would end coverage for the 1.8 million Texans who have been laid off in the middle of a deadly pandemic," Jaffe said in a written statement.

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