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Texas state Sen. Jane Nelson looks on as Gov. Rick Perry gestures during a bill signing.
Health care activists and Obamacare supporters are working to organize the millions left out of health insurance reform because their governors and legislatures refused to expand Medicaid. They are recruiting these individuals to lobby their state officials for Medicaid expansion, and turning the issue into a rallying point for the 2014 election. The most advanced effort now is in Texas, the state that also has the most number of people in that Medicaid gap—1 million.
Texas Left Me Out, the combined effort of several community groups, is a website designed to collect those people's stories and organize them into a cohesive political action constituency. It asks those in the Medicaid gap to sign a petition to stay informed about advocacy events and share their story on the site.

Are they going to turn Texas blue on the backs of people who have traditionally been ignored by Republicans? Are they going to convince an anti-Obamacare stalwart like Rick Perry to buy into the law? That's a tough sell. But they're going to try. [...]

Those left out of the expansion are receptive to the effort. Irma Aguilar, a separated mother of four who lives in San Antonio and has been recruited by the Texas groups, said it was a "a real shocker" when an Obamacare canvasser came to her house to explain her options to her under the law, only to find out that her income as an assistant manager at Pizza Hut was too low to qualify for financial assistance to purchase private insurance and she couldn't sign up for Medicaid because Perry and the GOP-led legislature had rejected the expansion.

"They didn't want to take that extra money to help us poor people back here," she told TPM. "What about us back here? It's really hard. I thought with this law, they would try to work to help everybody, but apparently not. They just think of themselves. They've just let us struggle."

Of the 100,000 people organizers have already contacted, they have commitments to participate in the effort from 20,000. That's 20,000 pissed off people who know exactly who broke the promise of Obamacare: their state officials.

Texas is the most advanced effort so far, but is likely to spread to all of the 25 states that aren't expanding Medicaid. The movement could grow beyond just the Medicaid gap population, when more people realize that the refusal to expand Medicaid is resulting in hospital closures and real economic pain for their communities. This could turn into a key election issue for 2014.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Dec 13, 2013 at 12:02 PM PST.

Also republished by TexKos-Messing with Texas with Nothing but Love for Texans, Daily Kos, and Houston Area Kossacks.

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