Expanding Medicaid in Texas could benefit 1 million residents in Houston area

HOUSTON – Medicaid is the health care safety net for millions of Americans.

During the pandemic, when many people lost their jobs and their health coverage, Medicaid became even more important for people struggling.

Texas is one of only 12 states that chose not to take additional federal money to expand Medicaid coverage in a political battle that’s been going on for years.

However, in a small step forward Wednesday, Texas lawmakers voted to go ahead with a bill that would cover one of the most vulnerable groups: mothers and babies.

Now, one million low-income Texans are hoping for a full expansion soon.

Amber Ayala is a full-time UH student who would benefit from Medicaid expansion.

Ayala is majoring in psychology, has an internship and works at a grocery store to pay her way. She’s also never had regular doctor check-ups because in her busy schedule she doesn’t work enough hours at the grocery store to qualify for healthcare benefits. So, she typically doesn’t go to a clinic unless an illness gets so bad she can’t tolerate it.

Ayala said her mother supports her when she can but she also supports seven other family members.