Last week over 40 organizations helped launch Texas Left Me Out, an online campaign that is designed to collect and eventually share stories from uninsured Texans.
Because our state Republican leadership has denied Texas literally billions of taxpayer dollars by not matching state dollars with potential federal Medicaid dollars, we have what's called an expansion gap here in Texas.
What this means for people signing up for health insurance for the first time is that if they don't make enough money, the federal website will tell them that they should be able to qualify for Medicaid, but since Texas has refused to expand Medicaid after the signing of the Affordable Care Act, these people who qualify for Medicaid in Texas will not be able to get any kind of affordable healthcare whatsoever.
Texas Left Me Out is designed to collect the stories of these people who are left in this new coverage gap.
Texas has the highest rate of uninsured people in the nation, yet Republicans leaders in the state including Greg Abbott, are doing everything within their power to make sure that fewer and and fewer people have access to basic and sustainable health care.
Click below the jump to read one of these heartbreaking stories.Ideally Texas Left Me Out.org is designed to inform and assist people who are in this new Medicaid Expansion gap. It provides information about local alternatives for the uninsured, and it also allows people to stay informed and gives them the opportunity to inform their legislators that this Medicaid expansion gap is not only economically irresponsibly, but it's also just plain morally wrong.
The Texas Organizing Project released this statement, telling the story of Irma Aguilar.
'Irma Aguilar is just one of more than one million Texans left with nowhere to turn for affordable health coverage. A 28-year-old mother of four from San Antonio, Aguilar is an assistant manager at Pizza Hut but still does not make enough money to qualify for financial assistance in the Marketplace. She has damaged disks in her neck and suffers from high blood pressure that makes her dizzy, but she's unable to afford treatment.
“I need to be able to keep working and providing for my family, but every single day I worry about what would happen if I had to stop working because of my health conditions,” she said.
Health care navigators and certified application counselors at in-person enrollment sites all over the state are turning away hardworking Texans hoping to get health insurance because they make too little to qualify for financial assistance. Elizabeth Colvin with Insure Central Texas and her staff are having those tough conversations every day.
“We have been left with an awkward situation-a single parent of two earning $17,000 a year will receive no financial assistance for health coverage, while a second uninsured parent of two earning $20,000 a year will qualify for full health coverage for $33-per-month or less,” Colvin said. “We have to tell people that they have no options and there is no worse feeling when you know someone desperately needs a surgery or medical attention. We have to deliver the news that our society has left them out.”'
Sadly, more and more people will realize that Texas has left them out, and with the most direct of intentions to deny basic healthcare to its citizens. The only hope is that we can organize these people, and demand that Texas be a place where no one gets left out.