On Thursday, the Texas House of Representatives failed to adopt a budget amendment to increase health coverage through a Texas-specific model and reduce the number of uninsured Texas citizens. Laura Guerra-Cardus, MD, Deputy Director of the Children’s Defense Fund-Texas issued the following statement regarding the vote:
Texas’ coverage crisis is not going away, and neither are we. Texans deserve health coverage, and they’re tired of fighting about how to get it.
The amendment had remarkable bipartisan backing beyond the Capitol’s walls and in every corner of the state. Polls show that roughly two-thirds of Texans support greater health coverage. Just this week, nearly 200 physicians groups, health care providers, local officials, business leaders, and advocates came together to call for a coverage plan that is “bipartisan, funded through available federal dollars, structured to be neutral for the state’s budget, and designed to meet Texas’ specific needs, values and circumstances.”
It’s unfortunate that the legislature is so far out-of-step with the rest of the state. Lawmakers owe Texans a real coverage plan.
This amendment, and the support it garnered, shows the path that Texas leaders should take to claim the federal money we are entitled to, increase coverage for Texans who need it, without increasing the state budget. There will be many opportunities, over the last five weeks of the session and beyond, to take this common-sense step; some of those opportunities already have bipartisan support among legislators.
Now more than ever, Texans know where the state needs to go and how to get there. The time for excuses and obstruction is over. We are resolved, as Texans, to hold leaders accountable for delivering the health coverage that Texans need and deserve.