Idaho, Maine, Nebraska and Utah voters approved Medicaid expansion through ballot initiatives. Now Texas legislators have filed bills for a vote over whether the state should expand coverage for the joint federal-state health insurance program.
Olga Kauffman is tired of the politics surrounding Medicaid.
Kauffman, a San Antonio resident who works as a health specialist with Urban Strategies, a group that builds public housing and provides services to residents, says she sees families struggle every day because of lack of access to health care and insurance.
She recalled helping a 31-year-old mother with ovarian cancer get on Medicaid, the joint federal-state health insurance program for people who are poor or disabled. The mother of three, who evacuated the U.S. Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma, had Medicaid there but didn’t realize she needed to apply for it again in Texas. Kauffman said it took months for her client to hear an answer, and in that time she missed several chemotherapy appointments and couldn’t afford her prescription drugs. Two weeks after she died, her Medicaid application was approved. It’s those moments that Kauffman thinks about when telling people how Medicaid can leave people behind.