This nation is facing a healthcare crisis — and Texans have been hit hard by outrageous insurance premiums, deductibles, and pharmaceutical prices that are sometimes triple the cost compared to other nations.

We must stand together, as a nation, and say that healthcare is a basic human right, not a privilege reserved for only those who can afford it.

That’s why, for decades, in the Texas Senate, I have fought to expand Medicaid to our most vulnerable neighbors. No matter your circumstance, our nation benefits from healthy and productive people. 

I sponsored a bill in 2018 to expand Medicaid eligibility to our military heroes. Veterans and their families have earned high-quality healthcare, but we must do better, and take action to help cover the over 40 million Americans without coverage.  

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was a monumental step for the American healthcare system, but it didn’t go far enough. Costs are still too high, and patients had limited options for doctors. Texas left millions without coverage by refusing Medicaid expansion.

That’s why we need to invest in making the ACA work for everybody–this needs to be a funding priority in 2020. We need to ensure that everyone who wants to enroll in the ACA can do so, without forcing others to forfeit their employer sponsored insurance.

Healthcare, like reproductive freedom, must be a choice. 

While we work to ensure affordable, quality healthcare for all people–it is imperative that mental health services don’t fall through the cracks. We must continue educating people on the importance of mental health and include those services with basic healthcare packages.  

Introducing the importance of mental health to our children is a clear step we must take as a country. I authored multiple bills in the Texas Senate to not only include mental health services in our schools, but to also add mental health care as part of our curriculum.  

We have to look at the full person, body and mind, when discussing the future of the American healthcare system. As your next Senator, I will face this healthcare crisis head on and fight to ensure every Texan receives the affordable care we all deserve.