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Thousands Rally For Medicaid Expansion At Texas Capitol
Nearly four million Texans depend on Medicaid for health and independence. Millions more are in desperate need of health care, but the program could be in jeopardy as Governor Rick Perry advocates moves to end Medicaid altogether in Texas.
Thousands marched down Congress Avenue to the Texas Capitol to hold a rally in support of Medicaid expansion on Tuesday.
In the crowd was Austin resident Elsa Yllescis and her sister Julia who has severe down-syndrome and autism. Yllescis said Julia waited on the Medicaid waiting list for 11 years before finally receiving health insurance.
"It is needed for the most vulnerable. Life before was difficult. I think it's so inhumane," Yllescis said. "I'm pretty much appalled about how this Texas system has declined throughout the years."
Yllescis said she and her sister were at the rally to support the millions of Texans living without health coverage.
"It matters for both sides," Yllescis said, "For those who they are trying to take it away from and those who are in need of it."
Nikki Mease was one of the thousands at the Capitol who are in desperate need of insurance.
She is a student at Texas State and said it is not fair that those going to school and working can't get covered.
Young people are among the largest uninsured groups. Mimi Garcia with Texas Well and Health spearheaded the rally Tuesday. She said Medicaid would boost hiring and productivity in Texas, as well as lower taxes and reduce private premiums.
"Having healthcare is the key to having a full life," Garcia said. "[Uninsured] people end up in hospital emergency rooms, which is the most expensive care, and they are least likely to be able to pay for, and that gets passed off on to everybody else in the system."
Governor Perry and Republican leaders said they will expand Medicaid if the state is exempted from certain federal regulations.
By Cassie Gallo