Over 2,000 people from across Texas gathered in Austin and marched up Congress with us for the Texas Medicaid Matters Rally. Folks traveled from El Paso, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Edinburgh, Corpus, and Amarillo among other places to tell their legislators and Governor that Medicaid is NOT broken, it’s helping millions of Texans and it should be expanded to cover more people who have no coverage now and can’t afford it on their own. People with disabilities, children, pregnant mothers, all benefit immensely from the current Medicaid services; far from being broken, Medicaid helps people achieve health and independence. It provides thousands of jobs and helps the economy across the state. Texas has the highest number of uninsured people in the whole country. Over 100,000 people are on waiting lists for services, sometimes for years at a time.
People like direct care workers (attendants, etc.), people with disabilities who work, people who work in other lower paying jobs, all are stuck in a hole in the system — the can’t afford insurance on their own, their employers don’t provide it and they make just enough to not qualify for Medicaid.
If Medicaid was expanded people could avoid the emergency room last-minute, expensive, crisis care and use more cost effective and healthy preventive care. Instead of cracking down on the people defrauding Medicaid, a subject the folks he loves to talk about, Governor Perry seems bent on scaring and punishing the people who need the services and who depend on them. It’s a kind of sadistic and disingenuous approach to a problem he apparently loves to go on about but doesn’t really want to solve.
Marchers and rally participants did not stop at the Capitol steps. After the rally folks went inside and visited with their legislators. Just as with the speakers at the rally, those who went in to visit brought a wide variety of messages regarding many parts of the Medicaid system.
We know that these thousands who participated represent hundreds of thousands of Texans. Legislators need to know this too. One day is terrific, but it will take more to carry this message all the way home. Join with us and let your State Representatives and Senator know what Medicaid means to you and why you support it. Not sure who to contact? The website Texas Legislature online has a place to find out, click here to learn who represents me.