On November 8th, 2016, Hidalgo County voters will have the opportunity to pass County Proposition #1 to create a Healthcare District in Hidalgo County. The cost of this investment is minimal—approximately 5-cents per $100 of taxed property, after a mandatory tax cut by our county.

For the average homeowner, that investment is less than $4 per month. And that investment could be even less because all property exemptions allowed under our state constitution will be honored plus an additional $3,000 mark down on taxable property—including special exemptions for senior citizens, disabled veterans, and surviving spouses of disabled veterans.

A Healthcare District is needed to support our new medical school at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, along with a number of other health initiatives aimed at improving the quality of care delivered to you. The law says district funds would go to the UTRGV School of Medicine to educate and train more doctors locally, support our community clinics, help pay for direct patient care for low-income and uninsured residents, invest in mental and behavioral health, and provide more resources for research and prevention.

The problem is that approximately 250,000 residents in Hidalgo County do not have health insurance. The current indigent care program only covers 7,000 residents and the County’s contribution to this program has steadily declined in recent years. To qualify for indigent care a family of 4 must make less than $5,100 a year. And because Texas did not expand Medicaid, we have a huge “coverage gap”—that is we have too many residents that don’t qualify for indigent care because they make more than $5,100 a year but cannot afford private health insurance through the marketplace.

One hundred and thirty counties around Texas have a healthcare district to help take care of their residents. Why not us?

Our families deserve better.

With an investment of about a nickel per $100 of property value, we as a community can come together to raise $24 million a year, which will be matched by the federal government through a program designed to help contain Medicaid costs. That match is estimated to bring BACK at least $20 million of OUR tax dollars to be used to improve healthcare in OUR community. With the federal match Prop. 1 will provide, in total, about $44 million to improve healthcare for proven residents of Hidalgo County.

Prop. 1 will increase access to more doctors, specialists, and trauma care that our families need locally—this means less waiting, less traveling, and better care for you.

Prop. 1 will support our new medical school to ensure we have the doctors and medical professionals our growing community needs locally.

Prop. 1 will also support our community clinics so we can provide more care to our families and neighbors in need.

Prop. 1 will expand diabetes education and prevention programs, expand care and treatment for diabetes, and better fund research to find new treatments.

Prop. 1 will help create thousands of new high-paying jobs in medicine, research and biotechnology. As we grow in the number of medical professionals and technicians, firms will also look to develop new treatments and medical devices here in our community—leading to a stronger economy. Because of San Antonio’s healthcare district and medical school, 1 in 6 jobs in San Antonio are now related to medicine and biotechnology. We can create that same medical ecosystem here at home.

Make no mistake about it, Prop. 1 is for the people, for the patient, for you.

For the care our families deserve and the future we all want for our community, Vote For Prop. 1!