Texas Republican leaders have been quite vocal in opposing any expansion of Medicaid. Much talk from Republicans as a means of attempting to soften on Latinos has centered on immigration, but health care is as much a Latino issue as immigration reform; if anything, it is quite vital to the community.
According to the Texas Medical Association, there are 6.3 million uninsured Texans, including 1.2 million children. Of those, groups with a high likelihood of being uninsured are: Poverty-stricken families; Hispanics; and young adults. And almost 40% of Hispanics live uninsured. And non-citizens have an even higher likelihood of being uninsured; in fact, 30% of the uninsured in Texas are non-citizens.
When one looks at cities around the state, the numbers become quite real: Houston – 30%; Laredo – 36%; Dallas – 33%; McAllen – 32%; El Paso – 28%, the list goes on. Just 35 counties of the 254 in Texas account for 80% of the uninsured.
So, why are Texas Republicans against the uninsured? Expanding Medicaid will help over a million uninsured Texans. Billions of Federal dollars will be returned to Texas within a few years, and billions more in a ten-year period. Federal dollars means jobs–for doctors, nurses, other medical staff, and businesses who work in the field.
Republican Governors in New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, and Michigan now support expanding Medicaid. They have recognized the crisis, as well as the benefits of receiving Federal dollars that their taxpayers have invested. Public opinion and the opinion of Texas businesses are on the side of Medicaid expansion. It’s just the right thing to do to ensure more Texans have access to medical care, rather than only emergency room care that ends up being more costly and a less efficient use of resources.
One way or another, the taxpayers will foot the bill while Texas plays catch-up at becoming a healthier state. But when a responsible approach is available through Medicaid, then Texas should do the responsible thing.
My friends at Progress Texas are currently promoting an online petition in support of the Medicaid expansion. I’m asking you to sign the petition and support Texas doing the right thing.
DosCentavos will be doing more writing on health care and elder care in Texas. When it comes to health care, Texas is in crisis mode and Texans must come together, put politics aside, and do what is right. And when it comes to Elder Care, there’s no doubt that the lives of many of our viejitos and viejitas are at stake with decisions being made in Austin and Washington, D.C.
Sign the petition. Please.
Texans may also participate in Texas Medicaid Matters! Advocacy Day at the State Capitol on March 5, 2013. (Thanks to our friends at Texas Well and Healthy).
We are mobilizing to:
1) Protect Medicaid for children and other vulnerable Texans.
2) Extend Medicaid to low-income adults who qualify for it under the Affordable Care Act.
Get a schedule of events in PDF format here. DosCentavos will be blogging more about this advocacy day, too.