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Texas has the most people without health insurance in the nation — again

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The rate of Texans without health insurance rose for the second year in a row, making it once again the most uninsured state in the nation, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

In 2018, 17.7% of Texas residents — about 5 million people — had no health coverage, up from 17.3% in 2017. Both years, Texas had almost double the number of uninsured people compared with the national average of 8.7% in 2017 and 8.9% in 2018. It was one of only nine states to record an increase in the uninsured rate.

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Texas is one of 14 states that have not expanded Medicaid, a joint state-federal program that provides health care to low-income individuals, since the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act — better known as Obamacare. President Donald Trump made the repeal and replacement of Obamacare a major part of his 2016 campaign, but the U.S. Senate narrowly rejected a bill in 2017 that would have repealed parts of the ACA.

Last year, a federal judge in Texas invalidated a Medicaid expansion that would have filled coverage gaps for an estimated 1.1 million low-income Texans, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Between 2017 and 2018, fewer Texans got their insurance through Medicaid — the number dropped 0.7%, to 17.9%.

Some Texas political leaders, including Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and former Gov. Rick Perry, have argued that expanding Medicaid would increase health care costs for the state, especially if the federal government doesn’t keep its promise to pay for the increase in newly eligible people.

Others, like state Sen. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, are in favor of the expansion. In 2018, the senator filled a bill that would allow county commissioners to request a federal waiver to expand Medicaid in their jurisdictions and roll out the expansion county by county. The bill didn’t even get a hearing during this year’s legislative session.

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Five other states — Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Oklahoma — also had more than 12% of their population uninsured, according to the Census figures.

BY STACY FERNÁNDEZ

 

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Trump could be an ‘unindicted co-conspirator’ in investigation into Rudy Giuliani: MSNBC panel

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President Donald Trump could be an "unindicted co-conspirator in the federal investigation that has already resulted in indictments of two associates of Rudy Giuliani, the panel on MSNBC's "Deadline: White House" on Monday.

"The question today, will Trump’s conduct in the Middle East -- which has already led to one of the fastest and most dramatic political realignments in history, one that strengthens Syria’s Assad, Iran, and Russia, all American adversaries -- contribute to a political realignment here at home, wherein Republicans participate in the congressional investigation into Donald Trump's demand that a foreign leader dig up dirt on a political rival," anchor Nicolle Wallace said.

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Florida Republican Governor linked to arrested Giuliani henchman Lev Parnas in video

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Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has been outed for associating with at least one of the Rudy Giuliani associates arrested last week.

According to a video posted by Reuters reporter Joey Roulette on Twitter, Ukrainian businessman Lev Parnas can be seen standing with DeSantis after his election night win last November.

"Ukrainian businessman Lev Parnas, one of two Giuliani associates arrested last week and charged for scheming to funnel foreign money into various US elections, is seen (on the left) in this Nov 6 2018 video I took at Governor Ron DeSantis' election victory party in Orlando," tweeted Roulette.

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In one fell swoop, Trump throws US goals in Syria into disarray

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Since the outbreak of Syria's brutal civil war, the United States has stated several objectives -- destroying Islamic State extremists, easing from power President Bashar al-Assad and limiting Iran's influence.

In just one decision, President Donald Trump may have undone all three.

The mercurial leader pulled US troops out of northern Syria in the face of a Turkish invasion against Kurdish forces, who had led the campaign to crush the Islamic State group and with US protection had enjoyed effective autonomy.

The Kurds have reached out to Assad's regime -- allied with Iran and Russia -- to redeploy for the first time in years to northern Syria to face Turkey, which is trying to eliminate a force it links to Kurdish separatists at home.

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