As Democratic members of the Texas House, we have fought tirelessly for the expansion of Medicaid for as long as I can remember. 

As Rep. Bobby Guerra mentioned, the impact of COVID-19 has made the expansion of Medicaid more necessary than ever before. 

Texas has long been the leader in uninsured people and the uninsured rate in the United States. That is not something we want to be the leader of. Those numbers are only getting worse during this pandemic. 

Expanding Medicaid would provide necessary care to an estimated 2.2 million uninsured adults. Expanding the coverage would lead to lower premiums, and lower prescription drug costs and will infuse Texas with an estimated $10 billion of federal funds every year. 

So, better coverage means many things. Fewer trips to the emergency room being one of them. And therefore meaningful tax relief to all Texans who pay higher taxes to cover the cost of uninsured healthcare. 

So, there are 37 other states right now that have expanded Medicaid and have imported job creation and economic benefits. And it is time now for Texas to take advantage and to be a part of, and enjoy the benefits as well. 

Finally, we know that better coverage will reduce racial disparities that we see throughout all our healthcare systems. African Americans face higher rates of infant mortality, maternal mortality, and other negative health outcomes as compared to other Texans. 

These disparities have been exacerbated by the coronavirus, or COVID-19, which puts Texans of color at greater health risk than all other Texans. As we continue to confront COVID-19, the pandemic, and strive for a healthier insured Texas, expanding Medicaid is the easiest policy to impact the largest number of Texans. 

Government healthcare is paramount for uninsured people and people that cannot afford it. Just recently we watched the president of the United States, whose party stands against the expansion of Medicaid in Texas, lift off from a helicopter and be transported to receive government healthcare. If it is good enough for the president of the United States, it sure should be good enough for Texans. 

So as we continue to confront COVID-19, we strive for a healthier, insured Texas and this is the easiest way to do it. 

Editor’s Note: The above guest column is based on the remarks made by state Rep. Terry Canales of Edinburg during a press conference hosted by the Texas House Democratic Caucus to introduce the “Affordable Health Care for Every Texan” plan.

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