Today, organizers from a broad coalition of organizations that are focused on improving healthcare access to working Texans delivered 37,000 petition signatures in favor of the Medicaid expansion to the Texas House of Representatives.
Signatures were gathered by the Consumers Union, My Medicaid Matters, Working America, Progress Texas, Texas Well and Healthy, Texans Together, and MomsRising.
These citizen signees join chambers of commerce, local governments, health provider groups and majorities of Texans polled in calling for federal dollars to extend coverage to nearly 1.5 million low-income Texans next year.
See photos from the event and read more below the jump. Folks from around Texas came to the Capitol today for the hand-off and to remind our elected officials that Medicaid works.
A release from the event organizers after the fact echoed that message:
“These petition signatures show that Texans understand what's at stake with the Medicaid decision,” said Mimi Garcia, organizing director with Texas Well and Healthy. “That includes the billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of health care jobs our state stands to gain. It also includes keeping hospitals at risk of closing their doors open for business. This is the only way for virtually every citizen of our state to have the security of health coverage-the way our nation's health law intended. Texans know our state needs to decide how it will extend coverage to over one million hardworking Texans before January 1. People can't wait, and our state stands to begin losing money on Day 1 of the new year if we fail to act.”
The banner pictured above included the printed names of the Texans calling on our state leaders to do the right thing and accept the Medicaid expansion:
Speakers emphasized the high stakes and tremendous personal cost of Perry's obstinate refusal to accept the Medicaid expansion.
Luis Veloz, pictured below, is an uninsured young adult from Dallas and member of the Texas Organizing Project, had to drop out of college and leave behind a $150,000 scholarship to SMU to help pay for his parents' mounting medical bills.
Meanwhile, legislation that would extend Medicaid or advance a “Texas solution” received hearings today in a House Appropriations subcommittee.
Texas has a crisis in access to healthcare, as we detailed earlier today. The legislature has a moral obligation and economic responsibility to reduce our rate of uninsured Texans and expand access to healthcare. Progressives need to keep the pressure on, until our leaders get serious about addressing this problem before it gets much worse.