Health care becomes front and center again as Texas Republicans continue to ignore it

by | Jul 8, 2019 | Health Care, Policy

A federal court is hearing arguments Tuesday on Texas’ lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare.  It provides yet another opportunity to hang the state’s (and country’s) health care crisis over the heads of the Republican leadership in Austin and D.C. 

For years, Gov. Greg Abbott and Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz has been leading the charge in trying to kill the law, which has provided health insurance to one million Texans. 

Still, Texas has the highest uninsured rate in the nation and, despite spending almost half of state funds on health care, Texans have poor health outcomes. Even for those with insurance, costs of prescription drugs and certain medical care is through the roof,  like the $17,850 urine test one Texas woman faced following her back surgery. 

Texans say health care is the hardest living expense to deal with.  And even the Republican base in Texas says enough is enough.

A June 2019 report by the nonpartisan Episcopal Health Foundation found more than 90% Texans think “the state should play a role in making sure the health system works well and majorities say the state’s top health priorities should be lowering health care costs (59%) and increasing access to health insurance (57%).”

Those in charge for years — Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, Gov. Abbott and the rest of the leadership –allowed us to get to this point in Texas. They can kneel at the Trump alter and hate on Obamacare. But it’s moral and medical malpractice not to offer and fight for a solution, especially one that protects the insurance coverage people have for pre-existing medical conditions. The Texas Legislature did not one thing this past session to improve insurance coverage or protect pre-existing medical conditions. (Democrats had proposals to do so, by the way.)

As is the case on many things, Cornyn hasn’t lifted a finger on wholesale health care reform during his 12 years in the Senate. Now, in an election year, he’s introducing legislation on paper without any fight or campaign behind. Essentially, that’s just phoning it in. 

It’s not hyperbole to say that, by turning a blind eye and doing nothing, zero, zilch about health care costs, health care is the GOP’s Achilles Heel. It was in the 2018 elections and is likely again to be in 2020.

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