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Taking a Stand: Healthcare Relief

Did you know that Texans are required to pay billions in federal taxes each year to fund a federal health insurance program that is not even available in our state? Let’s change that.

When the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, Medicaid was reimagined to include a new program for people who aren’t poor enough to qualify for Medicaid (a federal program for those who qualify for financial assistance) and also don’t have access to private insurance, either because they can’t afford it or their employers don’t offer it.

Originally, this reimagined version of Medicaid was supposed to be administered by the federal government. Texas and other states rightly resisted the fed’s power grab, and in 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that each of the 50 states – not the federal government – has the right to decide if they participate.

That was 11 years ago. Since then, most states have made the leap, and for good reason: The federal government covers 90 percent of these “expanded” Medicaid costs; state taxpayers only have pick up 10 percent.

Texas is one of a handful of states that doesn’t participate in this national program – but we still have to pay out of our pockets to help cover it. What a rip off. Even worse, as a result of this unfortunate decision, Texas has been reduced to a “donor” state, and so are its millions of taxpayers.

Study after study has proven that healthcare relief has a big impact on prevention; same for early detection and intervention in chronic illnesses. Health care relief also results in a more engaged and productive workforce – that’s a win-win for everybody.

Right now, Texas has the highest number of uninsured in America: around 20 percent. Every year that our state passes, we are literally forgoing billions of dollars in federal aid that could be used help our friends, neighbors and even our own families who might be struggling.

Texans understand the gravity of this situation. Around 70% statewide say they support the government’s “expanded” Medicaid program for low-income people. But state leadership won’t budge. Nor will state Republican leaders bring it to a vote in Austin, because it would no doubt pass.

Legally, this is a state issue, as the Supreme Court wisely ruled. But federal legislators are supposed to stand up for the people who elected them, so they also have a role to play. That’s especially true for West Texans. We have a long tradition of looking out for each other, not because we’re obliged — because it’s just the right thing to do.

Jodey Arrington seems to have forgotten this golden rule. While hospitals and patient advocacy groups continue to battle it out in Austin, Jodey keeps hugging the sidelines. Meantime, people in his own district are truly struggling. As Jodey is well aware, a disproportionate share of the uninsured live in rural areas — and the 19th District is almost entirely rural. The kicker? One of Jodey’s top issues is rural healthcare.

As for me: I have no trouble standing up for what’s right; that’s a reflex that comes naturally to me, especially as it concerns the health, dignity and welfare of my fellow West Texans. So yes, even though I’m a full-throated Republican, and a conservative one at that, I fully support this federal program. And if I am fortunate enough to become Jodey’s successor, I will do everything within my power to elevate this issue, with the goal of ensuring that this option finally becomes a reality for West Texans.

To be clear, I do believe that Texas would need to put its own imprint on this program — as North Carolina, Oklahoma and other states have done – and I’ll be talking about that in some detail on the campaign trail.


Ask a Question or Share an Idea!

Every voter has a voice. Please feel free to ask questions and share ideas directly with our campaign. We look forward to hearing from you and starting a conversation on how we can improve the 19th District.

Giving West Texans a Bigger Voice

As your Congressman, I will establish a special West Texas Advisory council with representatives from each and every West Texas county.  This will help ensure that each county and constituency has a direct pipeline and bullhorn into the Congressional office.

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