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Texas has new incentive to expand Medicaid with COVID relief package that Democrats passed in Congress

“It puts money on the table. It increases the federal match for any new expansion state," U.S. Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, D-Houston, said on Inside Texas Politics.

DALLAS — Expanding Medicaid to give health insurance to more than 1 million low-income Texans just became more lucrative for Texas lawmakers.

Part of the American Rescue Act, the latest COVID-19 relief package that Democrats passed last week, includes a provision by U.S. Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, D-Houston, to give states more money if they expand the federal program.

RELATED: $1.9 trillion stimulus bill to offer health insurance savings for millions

“It puts money on the table. It increases the federal match for any new expansion state. I hope that my colleagues in Austin will look very closely at these incentives because 1.4 million low-income Texans in our state would have access to healthcare if the legislature will expand Medicaid,” Fletcher said Sunday on Inside Texas Politics.

Expanding Medicaid was part of the Affordable Care Act that Democrats passed in 2010, but a dozen Republican states have refused to expand it. In the last decade, though, some have done so, providing health insurance to lower-income citizens.

“This provides incentives to do that. What my bill does in particular, it increases the federal share for all Medicaid costs. It increases it by 5%. So, there’s really an incentive to get Texas to make this decision now and help get more people covered,” Fletcher added.

RELATED: What's in the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill the Senate passed?

The American Rescue Act is not only providing financial assistance to some families, but the Democratic legislation that President Biden signed into law also sets aside billions of dollars for Texas cities that have resorted to furloughs and layoffs because of less tax revenue during the pandemic.