DALLAS — Attorney Susan Hays says she knows the marijuana issue is garnering most of the headlines in her race for Texas agriculture commissioner.
But the Democrat wants the public to know the position is also responsible for rural health care in Texas, and she says she has a plan to save it.
Hays says number one, the state should expand Medicaid.
“By not expanding Medicaid, we strangled rural hospitals economically. They could not make it without that expanded patient base. We’ve got to do it to save what hospitals are left,” Hays told Inside Texas Politics.
Hays says after that, the state must figure out how to get more health care workers in rural Texas, such as providing rural students more incentives to enter medical school.
And the candidate says lastly, there must be more competition in the insurance marketplace in rural counties with more health plans to choose from.
“My husband and I are now out in Brewster County and a lot of counties like Brewster, there are only one, maybe two, health insurance providers and they get to dictate the terms and that is not fair to rural Texans,” said the Democrat.
As for the marijuana issue, Hays differs from her opponent, Republican incumbent Sid Miller, in that she wants to legalize marijuana, while Miller is only advocating expanding access to medical marijuana.
Hays argues that if you don’t also legalize and regulate, the black market will only continue to grow in the state.
“Texas has to deal with the issue, get ahead of the problems, or we’re going to have a hot mess, much like California did when they failed to effectively regulate their cannabis markets,” Hays said.
Susan Hays also discusses her ideas for sustainable agriculture. Listen to her full Inside Texas Politics interview to learn more.