Dallas Interfaith Group to State Lawmakers: Expand Medicaid Now

Dallas Area Interfaith held a news conference this morning at Temple Emanu-El, where more than a dozen faith leaders from the Dallas area gathered to support Medicaid expansion. Since Friday, 60 clergy members from Catholic, Protestant and Jewish congregations have signed a letter calling on state lawmakers to opt in for the Medicaid expansion offered in the Affordable Care Act. The DAI will deliver the letter tomorrow to Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst.

The letter reads, in part:

We believe humanity rises to our highest fulfillment as we treat each person with dignity, precisely as we ourselves would hope to be treated. We acknowledge our enduring responsibility to care for one another. As faith leaders, we believe expanding healthcare in Texas should be inclusive, affordable, accessible, and accountable and should strengthen the lives of the working poor and better enable Texans to take care of themselves and their families.

DAI has previously been involved in the expansion of health insurance programs for children, and the Durable Medical Equipment Exchange of Dallas, which repairs and redistributes medical equipment like wheelchairs, walkers and hospital beds. The group was also involved in a rally for Medicaid expansion this past February at the state capital.

"Our political group is not partisan," Rabbi Asher Knight told the Observer, "we work with Republicans and Democrats, but we are not partisan.

"And our faith traditions have come together today to take a political role on an issue that affects millions of people in Texas, affects 66,000 uninsured veterans, 800,000 people who need insurance and are under-insured in Texas, and we believe those numbers and the reality of 20 percent uninsured or under-insured Texas is just not acceptable. And the faith institutions and faith leaders are coming together to make sure our politicians understand the moral implications, the religious implications, the human implications and the voter implications behind this."