There is a big racial disparity and the ones that are impacted the most (from the coronavirus) are always the minorities, especially in this situation. 

We are the frontline workers, we are the ones that work in the hotels and the restaurants. 

Let me tell you, the COVID-19 pandemic has killed over 16,000 Texans and created health problems for thousands and thousands more Texans. 

Because Republicans from President Trump to Governor Abbott have refused to follow the science and the data, the virus has lingered in this country and this state at rates far worse than any other places in the world. 

We need robust testing and contract tracing systems in place in order to prepare for a new wave of the virus. Experts are warning us about this winter and we need systems in place for tracking immunizations and be ready to go when we finally get the vaccine that can fight this disease or against this disease. 

COVID-19 has exacerbated disparities that have always existed in Texas. Our uninsured rate has risen. Like many other health outcomes in Texas, people of color have fared far worse than the rest of the population. 

Improving healthcare coverage in the ways we have discussed, expanding Medicaid, extending coverage for kids and restoring women’s access to healthcare only ensures that more Texans are healthy and able to fight the virus and that our hospitals and doctor’s offices aren’t overwhelmed if a new wave comes. 

Fighting COVID-19 requires a strong, robust healthcare system across the state of Texas, where data can be shared, science can be trusted and government officials provide clear, transparent information that puts people first. 

That is the most important thing here. With more Democrats in the House, better health systems will be our top priority and we will have a better chance of fighting COVID-19 in the months to come. 

Editor’s Note: The above guest column is based on the remarks made by state Rep. Armando Martinez of Weslaco 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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