America's Uneven Health Care Coverage

Health care coverage across the U.S. continues to be uneven. The uninsured rate in the metro are with the highest percentage is three times the national average. And it's effect is shown - the same metro area has the highest obesity rate in the nation.

Health care coverage across the U.S. continues to be uneven. The uninsured rate in McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas is three times the national average and almost 12 times that of the metro area with the lowest rate of uninsured, according to a new Gallup poll.

The nationwide adult uninsured rate was 16.9% in 2012, down slightly from 17.1% in 2011. However, it’s still much higher than 14.8% in 2008. According to Gallup, the metro areas with the highest and lowest uninsured rates have changed little over time.

Nationally, Hispanics are the mostly likely demographic group to be uninsured and the McAllen-Edinburgh-Million has a Hispanic population of 90.6%. Other areas with high Hispanic populations are California and Florida, and eight of the 10 areas with the highest uninsured rates are in Texas, California and Florida.

And the residents of McAllen-Edinburgh-Mission are feeling it — the Texas metro area has the highest obesity rate in the U.S. at 38.5%. Meanwhile, Boulder, Colo., has the lowest obesity rate at just 12.5%, almost two whole percentage points lower than runner up Charlottesville, Va. (14.3%).

However, McAllen-Edinburgh-Mission is one of the only metro areas that had a strong connection between the uninsured rate and obesity rate. Madison, Wis., also showed a strong connection — but for good. Just 6.7% of the metro areas residents are uninsured and only 18.2% are obese, putting it into the top 10 for both the lowest uninsured rate and the lowest obesity rate in the country.

As all Americans will be required to carry health insurance as a result of the Affordable Care Act, the nation’s large discrepancies in health insurance coverage could change beginning on Jan. 1, 2014. However, Gallup admits that there is no way to tell what sort of effect the Affordable Care Act will have.

“It remains to be seen how much this will affect the high uninsured rate in metro areas such as McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas, and others.”

See the whole list of 10 metro areas with the lowest percentage of uninsured residents and Gallup's obesity survey results.