December 16, 2013
Senator Kirk Watson sent a letter to Representatives Darrell Issa and Elijah Cummings yesterday regarding today’s hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in Richardson on the issue of healthcare navigators. Senator Watson also released the following statement on the hearing:
Welcome to Texas, Chairman Issa. I know you’re from California, but we’re glad you’re here, no matter what our Governor says about your state.
You ask: Who are the Navigators? Well, the vast majority are hard-working, honorable folks committed to helping their fellow Texans find health insurance. In places like Austin and Fort Worth, some of them work through the United Way.
I hope – we hope – this hearing isn’t just some political roadshow designed to malign honest Texans who are helping their neighbors find affordable health insurance.
Another thing you should know: we love Texas. We also know Texas can do better when it comes to keeping people healthy. We know all about the state’s disgraceful status as the nation’s leader in the percentage of uninsured residents. And we know our Governor, weirdly and wrongly, has refused tens of billions in federal dollars to cover more Texans, and he’s rebuffed efforts to create a Texas-specific health insurance exchange.
We’re tired of the politics, Chairman Issa. We’re tired of folks who show up peddling cynicism to run up political points at the expense of our neighbors who need health insurance. We’re tired of people who invent a conflict between keeping Texans healthy AND protecting Texas consumers. I passed a bill during the legislative session that sought to do both of these things; more people should follow that example.
Stubbornly refusing to help folks who need health insurance is wrong. So is targeting honest folks who are helping Texans find health insurance. There’s plenty of common ground on this issue. As long as you’re here, I hope you’ll help us find it.
If you’re not going to do that, you should just go home.