America's Uninsured Belt

Uninsured states, which stretch across the deep south and the Sunbelt, are significantly more religious, poor, and conservative, according to a new map released by Gallup-Healthways.

As the U.S. Supreme Court readies itself to hear oral arguments over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act's "individual mandate," a map from Gallup shows us which states have the heaviest concentrations of people without health insurance. Nationally, 17.1 percent of Americans were uninsured in 2011. But that rate is not spread equally across the country. Indeed, there is something of an "uninsured belt" running through much of the deep south and the Sunbelt.

Despite the "economic miracle" that has sustained Texas throughout the crisis, more than one in four of its residents (27.6 percent) are uninsured -- the highest percentage in the nation by far. More than one in five people are uninsured in roughly a dozen other states, including Mississippi (23.5 percent), Florida (22.9 percent), Oklahoma (22.1 percent), California (22.0 percent), and Nevada (21.9 percent).

On the other end of the spectrum, less than five percent of Massachusetts residents were uninsured last year, the lowest rate in the nation (thanks in part to Mitt Romney's advances in health care, whether he likes to take credit for it or not). Less than 10 percent of Vermont, Hawaii, Connecticut, Minnesota, and Wisconsin residents are uninsured as well.

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