So, how does Texas stack up? Not very well at all. Texas is currently ranked 48th out of 50 states and scores extremely low in both eligibility and scope of services (followed only by Mississippi and Idaho). Here are some highlights. The entire report can be viewed here.
- Total Score: 335.5 out of 1000
Rank: 48 out of 50
- Placing in the bottom 10 in two categories, including the one with the heaviest weight, Texas ranks a poor 48th overall. In fact, it is the only state that places consistently at the bottom, all its category-specific ranks ranging within 10 ranks. Unlike other states that have made a policy decision to cover more persons for fewer services, or vice-versa, Texas ranks extremely low in both eligibility and scope of services.
- With respect to eligibility, Texas tends to adhere closely to the minimum Federal Poverty Levels, for which it earns no points since the mandatory minimums leave many who cannot afford private health insurance without healthcare. This poor showing in eligibility in Texas means that large numbers of people are excluded from Medicaid just because of where they happen to live, and they would be covered in a state with more lenient eligibility criteria.
In this election year, politicians constantly chatter about lower taxes, smaller government and putting everyone to work. Here in reality, I hear people complain all the time about the people who 'live off the government' and, to be fair, there are people who fit that profile. However, the majority of U.S. citizens want to be productive and contribute. They'd be happy to pay taxes if it affords them a quality of life that makes them feel like a whole American citizen. Many years ago, Martin Luther King called for people to be measured by "...the content of their character, not the color of their skin," it's now time for those civil rights to be extended to people with disabilities who want the chance to be full economic citizens, rather than be relegated to a place at the bottom of an economic ladder that they cannot currently climb. There are ways to help them up the ladder, one of which is the Community Choice Act. With the socioeconomic map of the United States shifting under the pressure of institutional failures, it is imperative that we create opportunity for all citizens. We cannot risk leaving anyone in the Dead Zone.