Hundreds gather at Medicaid focused town hall hosted by Rep. Doggett

U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett said it was good news Senate Republicans were postponing yet again a health care vote as he addressed hundreds of people at a town hall in downtown Austin over the weekend.

“That means we've got another week to spread the message, explore the defects and sound the alarm,” Congressman Doggett said. 

It was standing room only as more than 300 people showed up to hear Congressman Doggett speak at the First United Methodist Church. The topic at hand was the future of Medicaid.

“In all the different versions of this bill there has been an unrelenting attack on Medicaid, there is an effort to condemn Medicaid as with anything that is welfare,” he said.

After the opening remarks from Rep. Doggett, several people spoke to the crowd of more than 300 to share their stories of how the health care program has helped them, Spencer Cook was one of them. ”Every morning since I was about 10-years-old a stranger has come into my home, lifted my body out of bed and gotten me ready for the day,  Medicaid makes that possible.”

Cook was diagnosed with a genetic condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy when he was just 18-months-old. “Medicaid has always been there for me in basically all sorts of assistance, paying for medical aides, paying in home health care assistance so I could get up and go to work and go to school and basically pursue more or less an average life. Cook, who is bound to a wheelchair said the assistance he's received from Medicaid helped him move away from home at 18-years-old, graduate from the University of Texas, and start a career. But he said that normal life for him is now in jeopardy. “The republican plan cuts funding for Medicaid and therefore all the waiver programs by extremely substantial amounts to the point that the existence of those programs is kind of at question,” he said.

If the assistance is taken away from him, he said it could be life-altering for him and millions of others, “I would basically have to go live in an institution and have to leave my neighborhood and my community, my friends, and my future I have been working towards. Mine is one of the first generations of people with my condition not only to survive but to lead a life. Medicaid makes that amazing and marvelous thing possible, I wish our country felt more proud of that,” he said.