Matthew Solis, 22, is a single father in San Juan, Texas with joint custody of his 4-year-old daughter. He works 25 hours a week for minimum wage while attending college full-time. He can’t afford private insurance, and he makes about $8,700 a year–too much to qualify for Medicaid in his state.
Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) allows young adults to remain on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26–but this doesn’t help Matthew “whose father is uninsured and whose mother died of leukemia when he was eight.”
“‘I voted for [Obama] because he promised we would have insurance,’ Matthew said. ‘I’m pretty upset because I worked for Obama and I still don’t have coverage.’”
People like Matthew are the future of the single-payer movement. He is one of millions the ACA leaves behind.
The ACA was supposed to expand Medicaid to cover everyone within 133% of the federal poverty line (like Matthew) by 2014; however, the Supreme Court took away the federal government’s ability to enforce this expansion by allowing states to opt-out. So far, twelve governors, including Texas Governor Rick Perry, have either explicitly opted-out or are considering doing so, leaving millions of working poor Americans without any access to healthcare.
RootsAction and Healthcare-NOW! are teaming up to tell Rick Perry and all the governors refusing to participate in the Medicaid expansion: “Expand Medicaid to 133% of the federal poverty rate.”
Join us in telling Matthew, his daughter, and every other uninsured person that we stand in solidarity with their fight to get the care they need while we continue organizing for expanded and improved Medicare-for-all.
Once we collect 25,000 signatures, single-payer activists in Texas will hand deliver them to Gov. Perry’s office. We must make sure he knows that the country is watching him. After that, we’ll work to get the petition to the governors of Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and any other state that opts out.
One in four (6.2 million) Texans are uninsured–the highest rate of any state. Medicaid could cover 49% of uninsured Texans by 2019. Clearly, Gov. Perry is cynically trading the health of millions of his constituents for his own political gain.
RootsAction and Healthcare-NOW! share a commitment to securing healthcare as a human right under an improved and expanded Medicare-for-all model. We all know the ACA leaves us a great distance from that goal. It keeps the insurance companies in the center of the system. It doesn’t control healthcare costs. It leaves millions of people uninsured and under-insured. And about 20% of every healthcare dollar spent will still go to administrative costs and corporate profits, as compared to under 2% for Medicare.
Clearly, expanding Medicaid doesn’t solve all of these problems. Medicaid is increasingly in the hands of managed care companies that are profiting tremendously while making care more difficult to get. But certainly the answer is also not found in allowing fewer people to be able to access care.
Go here to tell Gov. Perry and the eleven other heartless governors that leaving more people uninsured and putting them at a higher risk of death and medical bankruptcy is morally unacceptable. Expand Medicaid now.
This is not a Healthcare-NOW! endorsement of the Affordable Care Act. Whether you believe the ACA is a step backward or an incremental step forward, we can all agree that we still need national, universal single-payer healthcare – and we refuse to quit until we have it.
We will win by turning the tables on politicians’ continued efforts to further weaken this nation’s social safety net. We will win when we build a powerful grassroots movement of all those who’s right to healthcare is denied. We will win when people like Matthew rise up to lead this fight in every community in America.
John Lozier, Executive Director of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council and Healthcare-NOW! Board Member, puts it this way:
“Ours is at root a moral claim about people having a right to healthcare. If simple, practical decisions by political leaders can extend healthcare to millions of people, we should insist on those positive decisions and keep working for approaches that are far better.”
Dr. Margaret (Peg) Nosek, Executive Director of the Center for Research on Women with Disabilities at Baylor College of Medicine, and President of Health Care for All–Texas, agrees:
“Even though Medicaid and the ACA will not get us where we ultimately want to be on the path to healthcare reform, without them people will die. Until we have a better system in place they must be maintained. Expanding Medicaid now is the equivalent of putting a tourniquet on a limb that has been ripped open in a shark attack. It’s not an ideal solution, but necessary for the interim.”
We need to act now. Pleases click here to tell Gov. Perry: “Take the federal funds and expand Medicaid.”
The Medicaid expansion isn’t an argument about state’s rights, federal dollars, or which political party or whim is being served–and it must be terribly confusing and frightening for those in our society who must rely on our social safety net programs. Human lives are what are at stake as we move forward through this maze of regulatory confusion and election year politicking. Illness and injury do not know the boundaries of states or political platforms.
What Rick Perry and the other governors are about to do is a national tragedy in the making. We need to act in solidarity with those affected by their callous decision, and with the single-payer supporters in the states that are opting out of the Medicaid expansion.
And please read board member of the Consumers Council of Missouri and chairman of Physicians for a National Health Program-St. Louis, Dr. Ed Weisbart’s op-ed, “Patients Will Benefit from Medicaid Expansion.”