Direct Care Workers Advocate to Protect and Expand Texas Medicaid

Mar 05, 2013, 08:00 ET from Direct Care Alliance, Inc.

AUSTIN, Texas, March 5, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hundreds of Texans from more than 150 local, state and national organizations are convening in Austin today to advocate for Medicaid, the program that provides low-income individuals and families with crucial access to affordable health care.

Some advocates are asking their legislators not to cut the current program. Others—including a group of direct care workers from Direct Care Alliance—are urging them to expand Medicaid, so more Texans have access to affordable health care.

Those workers include Lucille Daniels, who assists elders at an adult day center during the week and provides home care on weekends in Houston. Lucille is insured through her job at the day center, but she cannot afford the premiums for family coverage. She raised her two children in constant fear that they might get an illness that required medical care she could not afford.

"As health care workers themselves, Lucille and her fellow direct care workers know how important it is to have good health insurance, yet nearly half of Texas's approximately 290,000 direct care workers are uninsured," says David Ward, interim executive director of Direct Care Alliance. "These uninsured workers are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Most earn too much to qualify for traditional Medicaid or are ineligible, yet they can't afford the premiums and copays for employer-sponsored private insurance—if their employer even offers it."

Thankfully, there's a solution to their problem. As part of the Affordable Care Act, states may use federal funding to expand their Medicaid programs. By accepting this generous offer, Governor Perry and the Texas legislature can provide health coverage to more than 1.7 million currently uninsured Texans, including thousands of hardworking direct care workers.

"We need this for all the direct care workers who don't have insurance," says Lucille. "It's hard for them to go without health care—and it's not good for their clients either. We direct care workers need to be able to see a doctor when we need one, not go to work sick."

The Direct Care Alliance is the national advocacy voice of direct care workers in long-term care. DCA empowers workers to speak out for better wages, benefits and training, so more people can commit to direct care as a career.

Contact: David Ward
(212) 730-0741 |

SOURCE Direct Care Alliance, Inc.