President Barack Obama plans to call on Texas Gov. Rick Perry – one of the most prominent Obamacare foes in the country – to follow the lead of a handful of other Republican governors and agree to the expansion of Medicaid in the state as he visits Dallas on Wednesday.
He’s picking Texas for a reason. The Lone Star state has more people without health insurance than any other state, about a quarter of its population. And it’s one of the states that has refused to expand Medicaid as called for under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, so millions will be left without coverage even if people do go to the exchanges to get federally subsidized health insurance.
“This isn’t a political issue. This is about making sure people where they live have access to good quality, affordable health care,” White House deputy senior adviser for communications and strategy David Simas said Tuesday as he previewed the president’s trip.
Obama will ask Perry and the Republican majority in the Texas Legislature to join with fellow Republicans in Arizona, Ohio and Michigan to expand Medicaid. Texas leaders, Simas said, should “put politics aside and not deny people health care out of ideology or politics.”
The president will make his push during a visit to a Dallas synagogue, where he will meet with canvassers and navigators volunteering through Dallas Area Interfaith. As HealthCare.gov continues to struggle, the Obama administration is trying to highlight efforts across the country to inform communities about their health care options under the Affordable Care Act.
Even with the federal govenrment’s website struggling and without a Medicaid expansion underway in Texas, many municipalities across the state are trying to keep residents informed. In San Antonio, Mayor Julian Castro said, officials are trying to “ensure that folks have the information and resources that they need to enroll … so that folks who can get insurance do.”