Texas, New Mexico lead the nation in rates of uninsured

Texas has earned the dubious distinction as the state with the highest share (26.8 percent) of uninsured people, according to the Washington Post's analysis of recently released census data. It is followed closely by New Mexico (26.7 percent) and Florida (24.2 percent). Generally speaking, states in the South and West seem to fare the worst.

The data are from 2007 and show health insurance coverage by state and county.

With near-universal coverage, Massachusetts had the lowest rate of uninsured people under age 65--about 7.8 percent.

The disparities are greatest at the county level, according to the Post, which notes that Henry County, Iowa, and Plymouth County, Mass., tied for the lowest rate of uninsured in the country--about 6.6 percent of people under 65. By comparison, the 14 counties with the highest rates of uninsured were in Texas, with a nearly 50 percent uninsured rate in Kenedy County.

The number of uninsured residents in Texas--6.1 million and counting--is greater than the population in 33 states, the New York Times points out. Although Texas stands to gain from the health reform that requires Americans to buy insurance or pay a penalty tax in 2014, Gov. Rick Perry has vowed to fight "on every front available" against a law that he characterizes as "socialism on American soil." State legislators believe it poses a fiscal threat, that could cost the state $27 billion in the 10 years beginning in 2014, the Times reports.

To learn more:
- see the Census Bureau's data by county
- read the Washington Post article
- read the New York Times article

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