(This entry is adapted, with minor modifications, from the Harris County Green Party's Issues blog.)
The new Harris County Green Party website has a bit of a learning curve to it, both for those who maintain it and those who follow it. One of the things we HCGP apparatchiks have to learn is recognizing opportunities to post information about community events when they arise. Two such events have come to this author's attention in recent days, and they are happening very soon.
In particular, you can attend an event this Saturday morning, 1 July, with Rep. Al Green on the subject of protecting Medicaid from the threatened cuts. Green will appear at the Crowne Plaza Hotel near NRG Park from 10:30 am until noon. If you can't make it to that, try the town hall next Saturday morning (8 July) at the IBEW offices on the North Loop, hosted by a coalition of progressive groups.
Medicaid under Threat
Could Medicaid actually be cut in Texas under the current administration? If the majority in Congress has its way, we are looking at a reduction of billions just in this state.
The Lone Star State allocates approximately $30 billion per year for medical care for its poorest residents (other than the undocumented), but it keeps a very low ceiling on the income for families to qualify. The total is just over $1,000 per capita, and about $6,000 per enrollee. That includes everything from regular doctor visits to surgeries, cancer treatments, dialysis, births, and pediatric care. Here is a Ballotpedia item from 2012 for reference.
Dennis Kucinich may no longer have his seat in Congress, but his legacy lives on in HR 676, the Expanded Medicare for All Resolution, and it has nearly 100 co-sponsors, including Houston area Reps. Al Green, Gene Green, and Sheila Jackson Lee, Beto O'Rourke of El Paso, and DFW's Marc Veasey.
The Democratic leadership in Congress, however, has been either coy about its position or flatly denying that single-payer will ever happen. Furthermore, O'Rourke, a Democratic candidate for Ted Cruz's Senate seat, is not a co-sponsor of HR 676. His campaign website affirms that "health care is a right, not a privilege," but it does not use magic phrases like "Medicare for All" or "Single-Payer."
Greens Have Always Supported Universal Health Care
The Green Party's national platform has called for a single-payer, universal health system since the Party's beginnings. Even while recognizing the imperfections of existing systems, and that no implementation will be flawless, Greens point to the superiority of health outcomes and reduced expenditures in single-payer nations. Even with Medicaid, the US model puts the squeeze on millions of individuals and families, including those with jobs. Even the Affordable Care Act puts premiums out of reach of millions and offers plans with deductibles that make the tax penalty for not buying insurance a better deal.
Would you consider not voting for candidates who don't make single-payer a centerpiece of their 2018 campaigns? Republicans and Libertarians most likely won't, and Democrats will need to be pushed into it. With Green candidates, you don't have to guess: We want everybody in, nobody out when it comes to health care—including international tourists and undocumented workers.
Texas, of course, will have no Green candidates in 2018 unless the Party turns in the requisite number of petition signatures next spring. Will your signature be on the petition? The process begins 13 March 2018, with precinct conventions in the various counties. Mark that date on your calendars, and keep watching for updates on locations, etc.