Supporters with the Texas Organizing Project, an organization that conducts grassroots lobbying, are urging Perry to accept the $100 billion set aside to expand Medicaid health care.
DALLAS -- With a symbolic Lady Liberty dying on the table in the foreground, protesters outside the Dallas Omni hotel where Texas Gov. Rick Perry was speaking shouted their support for Medicaid expansion.
"The American dream is in critical condition," said Brianna Brown of the Texas Organizing Project. "That's the dream of all those Texans who want to be able to be healthy, want to go to the doctor, want their kids their families to be healthy, that are hardworking."
Supporters with the Texas Organizing Project, an organization that conducts grassroots lobbying, are urging Perry to accept the $100 billion set aside to expand Medicaid health care. More than a million Texans would have qualified.
In addition to Texas, 23 other states initially refused Medicaid expansion. Pennsylvania recently reversed its rejection. A Pennsylvania application to accept the Medicaid expansion was approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Thursday.
Those who would have been covered under the expanded program make too much to qualify for Medicaid under current standards, but don't earn enough to pay for even subsidized health insurance.
"$285 a month," Marsha Jones said of the rate she was offered. "I couldn't afford that -- not with the small amount of money that I make."
Jones said she works six days a week, sometimes 12 hours a day. Without insurance, she says she is forced to use the Parkland Hospital emergency room when she gets sick.
Guadalupe Ruiz said without insurance, she is afraid of what will happen to her. She often can't afford to pay for medications she needs.
"I am a diabetic, I have high blood pressure, cholesterol," Ruiz said. "I'm stressed."
Some protesters questioned how Perry could decline what they call the "free" federal money of Medicaid expansion.
They say what will cost far more is the medical bills of the uninsured, which taxpayers will eventually have to pay in the form of charity care.
A group of citizens protested outside the Dallas Omni hotel Friday over Gov. Rick Perry's refusal to expand Medicaid in Texas. WFAA