Several hundred health care advocates from across Texas met at the Capitol this morning to rally for expanded health coverage for all Texans. The Cover Texas Now coalition organized Coverage Expansion Advocacy Day to bring together activists, health care leaders, faith communities, and business leaders to bring a public, statewide voice to the Capitol on the urgent need for Texas leaders to expand coverage for the 1 million Texans who can’t access affordable health insurance. They represent 25 percent of all Americans in the coverage gap.
A busload of Lower Rio Grande Valley residents got on a bus at 3:00 a. m. to get to Austin in time for the rally to make their voices heard.
Texas remains among the 22 states that have yet to expand Medicaid, either directly or through a waiver from the federal government. This decision not to accept the nearly $100 billion in federal funds for coverage expansion hurts everyone. Nearly all working Texan adults are excluded from Medicaid in its current form, but also make too little money to qualify for subsidies to purchase health care. They are stuck in a painful affordability gap. Crazy as it sounds, lower-income parents get no coverage, while their neighbors earning a few dollars more a year qualify for large subsidies. The hard-working Texans who can’t get insurance are most directly harmed by Texas’ decision not to expand Medicaid, but we all pay in some way to cover those who can’t afford care.
Texas can help the 1 million low-income workers, health care workers, college students, and Texans living with disabilities stuck in the gap. Several Republican-led states have moved forward with coverage expansion utilizing an alternative plan, and Texas still has that option. Several legislators, the Texas Hospital Association, chambers of commerce, and many others support a Texas solution to coverage expansion.
In addition to making health care coverage accessible to all, expansion would also mean the creation of thousands of job and millions in economic growth statewide. In Tarrant County, for example, 85,700 residents are in the coverage gap. Closing the gap will ensure access to coverage for them, and is estimated to create nearly 25,000 local jobs. Expansion is expected to pump about $324 million into the county economy and will shrink the $419 million Tarrant County residents pay each year for uninsured medical care.
Do you want to find out how coverage expansion could help your county? Download a county-specific infographic showing the benefits specific to where you live. Or view statistics for all counties with our Health and Wealth County Checkup.
Hard-working Texans who need health care shouldn’t have to wait. Let’s cover Texas. Now.