Texas vs. Massachusetts: Their Best Is Our Worst

Rapper Nas has spit a great rhyme in his song Make the World Go Round:

I’m a rare dude, I’m a wonder,
your best success is my worst blunder

Today, a post on Health Affairs blog, Plano, Texas Vs. Revere, Massachusetts: Sorting Through The Differing Causes And Durations Of Uninsurance made the same point in the realm of uninsurance rates. The worst in Massachusetts equals the best in Texas:

Plano, Texas is an affluent Dallas suburb ranked as the wealthiest American city with at least 250,000 residents.  Between 2007 and 2011, the median income in Plano was $83,901, well above the national figure of $52,762.  As corporate home to several Fortune 500 companies, Plano has a workforce that is largely white-collar, with most employed adults working in management and professional occupations.

If Plano is the prototypical white-collar town then Revere, Massachusetts may well be its blue-collar opposite.  A working-class suburb north of Boston, Revere has a workforce employed primarily in service and sales occupations.  Between 2007 and 2011 the median household income in Revere was $50,592, ranking in the bottom half of U.S. communities.  While 90 percent of Revere’s labor force is employed, one in six people there live below the poverty line.

Plano and Revere also offer an illustrative juxtaposition when it comes to health insurance coverage.  According to the 2009-2011 American Community Survey, the wealthiest area of Plano had the lowest uninsured rate in Texas — the state with the highest rate in the country (24 percent).  Revere had the opposite distinction:  its rate was highest in the only state with an uninsured rate below 5 percent.  Most striking is a statistic these two communities shared: between 2009 and 2011, both had an uninsured rate of 10 percent.

The best illustration of the vast gulf between the states comes from the fascinating map project produced by Civis, a data analytics firm that grew out of the backroom “analytics cave” of the 2012 Obama campaign.

The map displays the uninsured rate for each of the over 70,000 census tracts in the US. Here’s the map of the greater Boston area:

Uninsurance rate by census tract in Boston regionAnd here’s the section for the Dallas-Fort Worth region, including Plano:

Dallas - Forth Worth uninsured by census

HCFA will be using similar analytics to target Massachusetts uninsured people for our community education campaign on behalf of the Health Connector.

And speaking of Nas, wouldn’t it be cool to see a freestyle battle between Governors Deval Patrick and Rick Perry?
– Brian Rosman

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This entry was posted in Health Care Politics, MA Health Reform, National Health Reform. Bookmark the permalink.

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