Poll: More Than Half Of Texans Say It's Difficult To Afford Health Care

Chris Fox
June 19, 2019 - 6:40 am
Emergency Room, Hospital, Health, Health Care

Darwin Brandis/GettyImages

AUSTIN (1080 KRLD) - Texans say health care is the toughest living expense for them to afford.

More than half (55%) of Texans say it’s difficult for them to pay for health care, including more than a quarter (27%) who say it’s “very difficult.” Those are some of the findings from a statewide Episcopal Health Foundation (EHF) poll on affordability and access to health care in Texas. 

Researchers found that fewer Texans reported difficulties affording other basic necessities like rent or mortgage, monthly utilities, transportation costs, or food.

Faced with costs they can’t afford, the poll found that 60% of Texans say they or someone in their household have skipped or postponed health care needs in the past year. Texans report that they skipped dental care or checkups (43%), postponed getting medical care they needed (41%), skipped a recommended test or treatment (33%), didn’t fill a prescription (31%), cut pills in half or skipped doses (22%), or had problems getting mental health care (15%).

In addition, the poll found that almost one quarter of Texans (24%) say they don’t have a usual place to go when they get sick or need care. Another 5% of Texans say they usually go to the emergency room for their medical care.

“We hear the stories every day, and these numbers confirm that trouble paying for health care isn’t only affecting Texans’ bank accounts, it’s having a direct impact on their health,” said Elena Marks, EHF’s president and CEO. “This is why Texans continue to tell us they want state lawmakers to do more to make the health system produce better outcomes and provide greater access to affordable care.”

Previous findings from the EHF health policy poll released in March found that 91% of Texans say the state should play a role in making sure the health system works well and majorities say the state’s top health priorities should be lowering health care costs (59%) and increasing access to health insurance (57%).

Texas has the highest number of uninsured residents in the nation and the highest uninsured rate (19.6%) of any state. The poll found that the vast majority of those without health insurance say they have difficulty affording health care (85%), including more than half (54%) who say it’s very difficult. Three-quarters of uninsured Texans say they have skipped or postponed care, including 61% who say they skipped or postponed care they needed and 46% who say have skipped a recommended test or treatment.

Cost is the main obstacle to getting more Texans insured. More than half (53%) of uninsured Texans say the primary reason they don’t have coverage is because it’s too expensive. Far fewer cite other reasons, such as employment issues (15%), not wanting or needing it (2%), or citizenship/residency issues (6%).

See complete survey report - http://bit.ly/HealthPoll2