With seven days left until the sine die, the last day for the regular session of the Texas Legislature, lawmakers are poised to do nothing to help the state’s 5 million adults without health insurance – the largest in the U.S.
This session, over a dozen bills, joint resolutions and a budget amendment were filed to expand Medicaid in one form or another. Of those, only HB 565 received a committee hearing. A dozen bills and joint resolutions died in the House two weeks ago. Several Senate bills have yet to be heard in committee and are not scheduled for House consideration by the end-of-session deadline this Tuesday.
On the only vote by either chamber, the House rejected the policy in a near party-line vote with all but one Republican voting against Medicaid expansion and all Democrats voting in favor.
Advocates say Texas is ignoring the health care coverage crisis for another session. Dr. Laura Guerra-Cardus, Deputy Director of the Children’s Defense Fund-Texas and lead coordinator of a March rally at the capitol on this issue, claimed by refusing to expand Medicaid, “Texas will continue to leave over a million Texans who could have health care coverage uninsured for another two years until the session is upon us again.”
“What we are seeing in Texas is our failure to address our high rate of uninsured is causing health care crises throughout our system,” she added.