HOUSTON (KXAN) — A study published on Wednesday by the Episcopal Health Foundation (EHF) claims that polling data of Texans shows a “growing health care affordability and access crisis” in the state.

“This is more than a health care crisis; It’s a statewide crisis,” said Dr. Ann Barnes, EHF president and CEO, in a press release. “These numbers paint a grim picture of the barriers Texans face in accessing essential medical care.”

Some data points in that press release include:

  • 68% of Texans skipped or postponed medical care because of cost;
  • 66% of Texans without insurance do not have a primary care doctor;
  • 50% of Texans put off necessary health care; and,
  • 35% did not fill a prescription because of cost.

The first data point is up from 59% in 2022.

“Over the last three years, we’ve seen Texans report increasing challenges with being able to afford care and therefore putting it off,” Barnes said, in an interview with KXAN. “We saw about a 9% increase year over year in Texans reporting that challenge”

Barnes elaborated on the possible causes of this, identifying Texas as the state with the highest uninsured rate in the U.S. She also cites other economic concerns as a cause — the choice between food, rent, utilities and medical care.

The struggles to afford health care varies by race and income. The study found 62% of Hispanic Texans and 55% of Black Texans reported difficulties in affording healthcare costs, compared to 44% of white Texans.

As for what can be done by state-level decision makers, she said that expanding affordable services and insurance coverage as key priorities.

“There are a variety of strategies that should be considered…any strategy that can increase the number of Texans who are covered would be an ideal way to address this rising concern in our state,” Barnes said.

The study’s sample size was 1,201 adults living in Texas and the researchers contacted them via online and telephone polling. The press release states that the margin of error is +/- three percentage points.