Cornyn and Cruz Let down Texans with Health Repeal Vote

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The US Senate narrowly voted to proceed with the legislative process toward gutting Medicaid and ripping health care away from millions of Americans.

We are disappointed that our Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz would vote to start debate on a series of bills that would have such disastrous effects on some of our most vulnerable residents and cause more than 1 million Texans to lose health care.

Bills now on the table in the Senate would make deep cuts to Medicaid, a program that forms the backbone of our health care system.  Medicaid provides everyday care for nearly half of Texas children, delivers more than half of all babies in Texas, and ensures care for two-thirds of all Texans in nursing homes. It covers a sizeable share of Texans with disabilities and seniors who, with help from Medicaid, live in the community. Medicaid is critical keeping the doors open and lights on in rural hospitals, children’s hospitals, and urban trauma centers. Medicaid fills in more gaps and supports more varied populations than any other health care program or payer.

Our senators’ willingness to gut Medicaid reveals a disturbing disregard for the value of the lives of the Texans who rely on the program – low-income children, pregnant women, seniors, and people with disabilities.

The deep federal cuts to Medicaid in the Senate bills, if passed, will force state lawmakers to cut Medicaid services, payments, or covered populations or pass the buck to county taxpayers.

Moreover, the process in the Senate is as irresponsible as the policy, preventing Senators and the public from fully understanding the profound implications of the bills on vulnerable Texans, state and local budgets, and our insurance markets until it is too late.

Stacey Pogue joined the center in 2008. She focuses on health policy issues. Before coming to the center, she did health policy and research work with the Medicaid and CHIP Division of the Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Department of Insurance. In 2010 and 2011, she was selected to serve as a funded Consumer Representative to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Pogue earned a Bachelor of Science in Geography, summa cum laude, from Texas A&M University in 1997 and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin in 2005.

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