HometownBell County


Texas has the highest uninsured rate in the nation for the second year in a row

Posted at 7:32 PM, Sep 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-12 20:32:13-04

KILLEEN, TX — The team at the Greater Killeen Community Clinic sees more than 100 uninsured patients each week.

"We serve approximately 75 to 100 in our walk-in acute care clinics, and then we have about 40 appointments a week in our psychiatry and chronic disease management programs,” said Marlene DiLillo, Executive Director of the Greater Killeen Community Clinic.

Kim Slater is one of those people.

"I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and of course I had the high blood pressure which that's all under control now, but I still need insulin and meds for the diabetes,” said Slater. “It's hard. You know you need the medicine to survive and if you can't afford it.”

According to the Census Bureau, last year, for the second year in a row, the Lone Star State had the highest number of people without insurance and highest percentage of uninsured people in the nation.

"Traditionally, [Texas] has been a state with a high uninsured rate and because it wasn't a Medicaid expansion state. It has remained high," said DiLillo.

Around 5 million Texans did not have health insurance in 2018.

"Another factor that influences the uninsured rate, not just here but in other states, is the cost of health insurance," added DiLillo.

Slater agreed.

"Even if you're working a job, by the time you pay your bills and buy groceries, there's just none left. it's outrageous. The prices are outrageous," said Slater.

However, the clinic said they do what they can to help on the local front.

"The clinic provides not only medical appointments, but we provide free medications for all of our patients. We also provide case management. We have special programs, such as providing produce to diabetics. We also host an annual community-wide dental day," said DiLillo.

"[I] come every three months. You know we go, they pay for our labs. They get our medicines for us," said Slater.

She shared she believes there is hope for the uninsured.

"There's help out there you just got to find it,” said Slater.

The Greater Killeen Community Clinic will host A Day of Dental Care for the community on Sept. 13 at Grace Christian Church in Killeen.

The event will kick off at 6 a.m. Numbers will be handed out on a first come, first served basis for low income adults ages 18 and older with no dental insurance.