Difficulty of being uninsured in Texas - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Difficulty of being uninsured in Texas

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Texas - Texas leads the nation with the most amount of uninsured people.

Leaving many with medical costs they have to pay out of pocket.

We spoke with one family about the struggles they face on a daily basis.

"It's been about nine years since it happened. I pretty much got caught in a rock slide and rocks crushed my lower extremeties," says Jerin Swanson, uninsured resident.

Causing him to break his leg in 14 different places among other severe injuries.

Jerin immediately had surgery but the problems didn't stop there.

He developed an infection that can now only be stopped with surgery, otherwise...

"They said pretty much amputation or with time the infection will spread to my other organs and I could possibly die," says Jerin Swanson, uninsured resident.

He is just one out of about 6.1 million people in Texas who are uninsured.

"I know the first surgery was probably about 250-thousand dollars, he was in intensive care, he had to stay in the hospital for a while, he had to have blood transfusions. I mean all of that stuff adds up so fast. It's incredible to think someone can outright pay that out of pocket in one lifetime," says Tammy Swanson, Mother.

Right now lawmakers are trying to tackle many health care issues including the possibility of expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

The program was under-funded by 4.8 million dollars in 2011.

Under the act, the federal government would pay more than 90 percent of the cost of adding 1.5 million people to Medicaid over the next ten years.

But Governor Rick Perry and other Republicans don't completely agree with that idea.

They instead want the federal government to give Texas the Medicaid money with no strings attached.

In the meantime, lawmakers will look for ways to reduce spending on the program.

This could result in services being cut or a reduction in the reimbursements to doctors who treat medicaid patients.

Jerin was denied medicaid and is working to pay all of his medical bills.

"It's been pretty difficult, someday's I get up and I can't even walk. My leg just locks up on me and I call in a couple days and it pretty much seals my paycheck. You know, I get in trouble if I call off too much," says Jerin Swanson, uninsured resident.

His family is just hoping and praying for a miracle.

"My hope is that my son will finally be out of pain," says Tammy Swanson, Mother.

There's a benefit fund set up for Jerin and the family is asking for donations. 

Benefit Fund:

Amarillo National Bank
Jerin Swanson
P.O. Box 1
Amarillo, TX 79105