The Texas House rejected a proposal that would have allowed the state to use billions in federal dollars to provide healthcare coverage to uninsured Texans.
Democrat State Representative Garnet Coleman who sponsored the amendment said a federal funding agreement would help to provide coverage for Texans. Texas has the highest rate of uninsured people in the nation – 18% of residents lack health coverage.
“I would like for us to expand traditional Medicaid in the optional way that the ACA says you can do it,” Coleman said. “But we can’t do that. And we know that … That is not what his amendment does.”
Ahead of the vote, Coleman and advocates for expansion said they had enough support in the chamber to adopt the proposal, as nine Republicans had publicly signed their names to a separate bill calling for Medicaid expansion.
But only one Republican voted with Democrats: Rep. Lyle Larson of San Antonio.
According to Texas Tribune, nearly 200 groups and community leaders across Texas are hopeful about another bill currently in the legislature, House Bill 3871. The bill establishes the “Live Well Texas” plan that uses federal dollars to expand Medicaid.
That bill has 76 House sponsors, nine of whom are Republicans, giving it enough support to pass the House. However, it has been stuck in a GOP-led committee since March, and the legislative session ends next month.
In Texas, Medicaid is only available to people with disabilities and adults with children that earn $300 per month or less for a family of four, or #150 per month or less for an individual.
A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation says that almost 1.4 million Texans would become eligible for Medicaid if the state expand its program.