Senator Ellis Press Release

For Immediate Release
February 20, 2013
Contact: Jeremy Warren, 512-463-0113

Ellis joins Texans Rallying for Health Care

Urges Texas to join other states accepting Obamacare funds to expand Medicaid

(Austin, Texas)—Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) joined the Metropolitan Organization, health care advocates and concerned Texans at a Capitol rally today urging Texas to address the uninsured crisis by expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare".

Below is Senator Ellis' statement:

"Thank you for making the trip to the Capitol today! We need your voice!

"Molly Ivins once said of Texas: "It's a low-tax, low-service state - so shoot us. The only depressing part is that, unlike Mississippi, we can afford to do better. We just don't."

"Texas has the highest uninsured rate in the nation, and 6.1 million Texans lack real access to health care. We have one of the chintziest Medicaid programs in the nation, with hundreds of thousands of truly needy Texans left without insurance.

"Texas has a historic opportunity to finally do something about these dismal numbers, but, instead, some choose to stand in the doorway and say 'no.'

"For an investment of $15 billion, we could draw down as much as $100 billion in federal funds and expand health care coverage to 1.5 million low-income Texans over 10 years. The feds will cover 100 percent of the costs for expansion for the first three years, and then gradually reduce to 90 percent thereafter.

"This should be a no-brainer. Expansion will:

"Nearly every single health care organization in the state has called on Texas to expand its Medicaid program. 58 percent of Texans support extending Medicaid services.

"Texas has long had the highest uninsured rate in the nation, and our Medicaid program currently spends less than the national average per enrollee, and also reimburses doctors, hospitals and other providers less than the national average.

Where's Your Plan?

"We constantly hear: 'Texas knows how to take care of Texans better than Washington.' Well what are you waiting for? Show us your plan! Instead of just saying 'no' to an incredible deal that will help millions of Texans, let's see your plan to access to insurance.

"I have filed a constitutional amendment to give the voters of Texas the right to decide whether Texas expands our Medicaid program, and I will continue to work with my colleagues in the legislature to try to take steps to implement health exchanges and expand access to Medicaid, because the problem is too great for us to sit on our hands.

SJR 8

"Texas cannot afford to wait - That is why I filed a constitutional amendment, SJR 8 which will let the people of Texas decide on expansion And, if we do not expand, Texans will pay for other states' to expand their Medicaid programs.

"It is time to put politics aside and let the people decide!"

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