I say it often — there are 150 members elected to the Texas House of Representatives, but just one who represents District 101. Although I regularly weigh in on issues that impact everyone in our state, and will continue to do so, my primary focus has been and always will be on working for Arlington and Grand Prairie.
Of course, our district isn’t really that different from the rest of Texas — it’s diverse and dynamic, made up of women and men who want a bright future for their families. It’s full of children who deserve the opportunity for a future of unlimited possibilities.
Like the rest of our state, in order for these families to have the opportunity to succeed, they shouldn’t have to do it alone. They should be able to count on their elected officials and their government to be a partner in securing those opportunities.
One area where that partnership is critical is healthcare. It’s a big issue, not just for Arlington and Grand Prairie, but for our entire state and our nation — whether it’s access to healthcare, the affordability of healthcare or understanding how personal choices impact our overall health — this issue impacts us all. That is why I support the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the opportunities it provides for increased coverage and strongly oppose continued efforts by our state’s Republican leaders to block Medicaid expansion and deny health care to more than a million Texans.
Before I get into the nitty-gritty of healthcare reform, I need to back up a bit. You may have noticed the format of this email is a bit different than ones I’ve sent in the past. I’m changing things around a bit, taking a back-to-basics look at specific issues affecting the quality of life for Texans and what is being done to address them, while giving you information that you can share. It’s what I call “Texas 101” — yep, it’s a play on words — the district I represent, as well as a way to educate fellow Texans on the issues that matter to us all.
Through emails, my website and social media, I will talk more and more about Texas 101 and how we can take common-sense approaches to make real strides in addressing issues, like increasing access to public transportation, lifting families out of the cycle of poverty and debt, enhancing our communities through economic development and of course, making healthcare more accessible and affordable.
I can’t do this alone. To make a difference, this has to be a team effort and I need your help.
If you haven’t already done so, “Like” my Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website. Most important, let me know how you can help make the biggest impact possible in addressing address the needs of our neighbors.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Now back to healthcare…
Last week, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released new enrollment numbers spanning October 2013 through January 2014. Here in Texas, the state with the highest rate of uninsured, more than 200,000 people have found plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Of that number, 27% are between the ages of 18-34. This is great news, since, as you’ve probably gleaned over the past few months, participation by younger Americans is critical to ACA’s success.
While many Texans are signing up for coverage, there’s a million-plus who are still being shut out, because of the actions of Governor Perry and the rest of the GOP leadership that has refused to opt into an expanded Medicaid program. These million Texans fall into what has been dubbed, the “coverage gap.” If Governor Perry had followed the lead of the governors in 25* other states and D.C. (plus four more who are actively considering it) and expanded access to Medicaid, these hard-working Texans would have healthcare coverage today.
Unfortunately, because of state leaders making decisions based on politics and not people, they do not have coverage. But I am not giving up on this, and I hope you won’t either.
* Quick note, of the 25 states, 8 have Republican Governors, including some not-so-moderate ones — does the name Jan Brewer ring a bell?
Even with the improving enrollments, there are still many in our community who lack coverage. With the March 31st deadline less than six weeks away, helping our neighbors understand the process is my #1 priority.
Through the end of the enrollment period, I am partnering with local organizations and churches for more events. The dates and times can be found on my website. Be sure to check back regularly for updates, including new events.