AUSTIN, Texas — During today’s Budget Day, after briefly indicating they would be supporting Democrats’ efforts to help Texans get health care, Republicans returned to their classic stance of “we’d rather let uninsured Texans die,” blocking budget amendments meant to expand Medicaid to nearly one million currently uninsured Texans.
Medicaid expansion is not only common decency, it’s common sense. Texas leads the nation in the number of uninsured residents. Democrats have fought for years to get Texas to expand Medicaid eligibility and help the most vulnerable Texans get access to health care. By unlocking billions of federal dollars to help with health care costs, the change would be a boon for the state’s economy — helping to keep premiums down for everyone, keep rural hospitals open, address racial injustice in the health care system, and keep families across the state healthy.
Republicans’ longtime refusal to extend health care to Texans who need it is pure political posturing — an obstinate unwillingness to share the benefits of the Obama-Biden administration’s flagship achievement. Because of Republican posturing, the state has said no to at least $9 billion in federal funds to help insure more Texans. Nearly one million Texans who could have been eligible under Medicaid expansion are instead left without health insurance.
Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:
“It’s a dark day when the political party in power chooses not to help their most vulnerable constituents get health care, over one year into a pandemic that has devastated communities across the state. Republicans’ refusal to help people get health care is callous, dangerous, and perfectly on brand for a party that has become one of the biggest public safety threats to Texans. Republicans have mismanaged the pandemic, left Texans to die during February’s winter storm, and fanned the flames of white supremacy and hate, putting Texans in danger. Now, they have cut Texans off once again from their human right to health care.
“This is a heartless, senseless decision, and Texans are going to die because of it. Health care is a human right. But Texas Republicans continue to block people from getting the care they need — even though expanding Medicaid would bring in billions of federal dollars to our state’s economy.
“Democrats will keep fighting to make sure all Texas families have access to health care, because that’s what it means to put Texans first. Republicans have forfeited any claim to leadership, and we will vote them out because of it.”