I am Bobby Guerra, state representative for District 41.

We stand here together as the Rio Grande Valley legislative delegation for the Texas House of Representatives, so I can introduce you to the House Democratic Caucus Affordable Health Plan for every Texan.

As a senior member of the Texas House Committee on Public Health, I know first hand that the single most critical issue facing Texans is insufficient access to affordable, quality, healthcare. And the COVID-19 pandemic has brutally illustrated this very issue.

Millions of Texans live their lives without health insurance because they can’t afford it on their own. Many employers do not provide it. For the past two years the number of Texans without health insurance has grown exponentially.

The COVID-19 pandemic has killed, as we all know, over 200,000 Americans and 16,000 Texans, with the Rio Grande Valley making up approximately, now get this, 15 percent of the state’s virus-related fatalities. That is shocking. We have all lost friends needlessly. I think we all have. I know I have. If every Texan had access to affordable, quality, healthcare there is no doubt this would have saved many, many lives.

We all want a Texas where fewer people are suffering and dying because they don’t have access to a doctor. And with the right leadership we can achieve this goal together for all Texans. As always, my Democratic colleagues will fight for a healthcare plan for every Texan. We plan to file bills that will provide quality, affordable healthcare, for all Texans, no matter what happens at the federal level.

We need to start with expanding Medicaid, which will no doubt strengthen protections for people with pre-existing conditions, lower healthcare premiums and stop price gauging so that prescription drug prices can stay affordable. It is important that we extend coverage for kids so Texas children can have continuous healthcare coverage.

It is so important that we have measures for preventative care so that we have fewer Texans needing to go to the emergency room. We should restore women’s healthcare by increasing access to services like cancer screening and especially we need to take steps to prevent women dying in childbirth.

Editor’s Note: The above guest column is based on the remarks made by state Rep. R.D. ‘Bobby’ Guerra of McAllen 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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