Monday, August 10, 2020

OP-ED: We must protect North Texans’ health care during this pandemic

By Colin Allred
U.S. Representative (TX-32)

As a North Texan, born and raised by a single mother who was a Dallas public school teacher, I know how hard things can be for working families and how this crisis has made things worse for many. During this crisis, many North Texans are worried about contracting COVID-19 and adding additional medical bills to the already mounting list of worries caused by this pandemic.

As the representative of the 32nd Congressional District of Texas, I’ve met North Texans from all walks of life, and too often I hear that access to quality, affordable health care is one of their top issues.

U.S. Rep. Colin Allred (TX-32) is pushing legislation to shore up health care during the COVID-19 crisis.

Texas currently has the highest uninsured rate in the country. In Dallas County, one out of four residents do not have health insurance. In addition, our state has not expanded Medicaid coverage, leaving more than one million Texans without the care they need.

Recent studies have also shown that Black people have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, due to lack of access to quality, affordable care and pre-existing conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes. In a state where the daily amount of coronavirus infections continues to break records, it is now more important than ever that we protect North Texans’ health care and increase access to quality, affordable care.

Unfortunately, in the midst of the worst public health crisis in a generation, the Trump Administration is engaging in a cynical attempt in federal court to tear down the Affordable Care Act, and with it, protections for those with pre-existing conditions and care for millions of families. During this time of crisis, we need more access to health care, not less. That is why I have been working hard to combat this Administration’s actions and protect North Texans’ health care.

On my first day in Congress, I led the effort in the House of Representatives against a Texas lawsuit seeking to undermine the Affordable Care Act. I have also pushed for several pieces of legislation to lower prescription drug costs and protect folks with pre-existing conditions.

I recently joined my colleagues to introduce the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act and call on the Administration to end its attacks on American families and their health care. The bill, which passed the House, would address the many challenges of our health care system and improve the Affordable Care Act. It would lower costs across the board and negotiate lower drug prices. It would also crack down on junk plans and strengthen protections for people with pre-existing conditions, like heart disease, diabetes or COVID-19.

Additionally, the bill includes a measure similar to one led by Fort Worth Congressman Marc Veasey (TX-33) that I cosponsored, incentivizing states like Texas to expand Medicaid coverage to more low-income and working families. This would help combat health disparities faced among Black communities and other vulnerable populations. This bill is a good step toward fixing our system’s many issues, and I hope both the Administration and the Senate will put aside partisan politics, end the attacks on the Affordable Care Act, and work with us to bring the American people the relief they need.

If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, nearly a million more Texans will lose their healthcare. In a state fighting COVID-19 with an already high number of uninsured people, that may be devastating. It’s time we worked together to give North Texans peace of mind by lowering costs and expanding access to quality, affordable health care, as we navigate this time of uncertainty together.

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