Texas Has More Uninsured Than Just About Anywhere

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    Texas virtually leads the nation in the percentage of residents without health insurance.

    Texas virtually leads the nation in the percentage of residents without health insurance, according to a published report.

    The Dallas Morning News reported Sunday that only 49.5 percent of the state's residents have health coverage on the job, based on a two-year average ending in 2008. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated this month that across the country, almost 59 percent of people have health insurance.

    Texas' health insurance woes are compounded by the large number of uninsured illegal immigrants.

    But even if the state didn't have any illegal immigrants, Texas would still have the largest percentage of uninsured residents of any state other than New Mexico, which barely squeaks ahead, the Dallas Morning News reported.

    According to the Census Bureau, 1.56 million of the 6 million uninsured residents in Texas last year are not U.S. citizens. But the Census Bureau said it's not clear how many of the noncitizens are illegal immigrants.

    The state had 1.3 million to 1.55 million illegal immigrants, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

    The chief executive of Baylor Health Care System, Joel Allison, says a restrictive state Medicaid program also contributes to the number of uninsured.

    Up to one-third of Dallas-area residents lack health insurance. A sizable number of North Texans are footing the bill through taxes and higher insurance costs.

    The Dallas Morning News also reported that health care costs are going up in Dallas, despite more competition than in other areas.

    Competition in the Dallas health care market doesn't lower costs because it "rewards those who do more procedures and tests and offers no incentive to spend less," the newspaper said.

    Get More: The Dallas Morning News