Rally Criticizes Perry, Calls For Expanded Medicaid In Texas

Marta Soledad speaks in favor of expanding Medicaid to more uninsured Texans. She is joined by Durrel Douglas (center) of the Texas Organizing Project and Kenneth Walker, who also spoke at the rally.
Reaction continues across the state to Governor Rick Perry's announcement that he doesn't want Texas to expand Medicaid under the national healthcare law. A group of uninsured workers rallied today outside the emergency room at Ben Taub Hospital in the medical center.

A dozen people gathered on the wet sidewalk, holding signs. One said “Perry don’t sell out my healthcare for politics.”

The Texas Organizing Project put together the gathering to respond to governor’s announcement.

Kenneth Walker works odd jobs in construction and yard work. He is 52.

“I work hard, man, and I don’t have healthcare. I don’t have healthcare, and not only do I not have it, my kids don’t have it. And for this guy to come on national TV and say that he’s going to fight against, he’s not going to allow us Texans to have it, is a slap in our face.”

Medicaid Rally
Houstonians rally for Obamacare outside Ben Taub’s emergency entrance on Tuesday.

Each state has the option to extend Medicaid to uninsured adults, but Perry says he won’t support that in Texas.

An estimated 1.4 million Texans could gain coverage through Medicaid, but Texas must choose to opt-in.

Marta Soledad works in home healthcare and is also uninsured.

The 29-year-old mother says the fight is not over:

“So this is something that Rick Perry cannot, cannot shut down. We will stand in the way, we will fight for this Obamacare. It’s something that we do need, as hard-working Texans, as people of Houston.”

The Legislature could take up the issue when it meets again in January, but it’s unclear if there would be enough votes to override Perry’s veto.

Bio photo of Carrie Feibel

Carrie Feibel

Health & Science Reporter

Carrie Feibel is KUHF's health and science reporter. She comes to Houston Public Radio after ten years as a print reporter...