What They’re Watching: Nathan Johnson

Sen. Nathan Johnson represents Senate District 16, which comprises the northern part of Dallas County. He serves on the Health and Human Services Committee and has been a voice for the effort to expand Medicaid in Texas. For this edition of “What They’re Watching” we’re bringing you back to early February when we spoke Sen. Johnson about the moral and economic arguments for Medicaid expansion in Texas.


Get the latest state-specific policy intelligence for the health care sector delivered to your inbox.


We are spending a lot of our time and energy right now on trying to expand Medicaid in Texas this next session – not in three or four sessions, right now. 37 states have already done it. We’re trying to educate the public, educate legislators; rally the business community, health care community, law enforcement community, patient advocate community, etc. If we can speak with one loud resounding, data supported voice, I think we can do it in Texas this time around. It’s critically important from a health perspective, productivity perspective, and economic perspective. When all of those things line up, we manage to get things done in Texas. The key is getting everybody to realize that those things have lined up.

I’m a little bit more optimistic about this than other people because most people look backwards and trying to predict the future. I think it’s important to look at trends, not at past attempts and failures. The trend we’re seeing is that people in the state of Texas recognize the need to expand access to health coverage; the moral imperative of doing it and the economic benefits of doing it. When you get business groups looking at issues that may traditionally have been social issues and throwing their weight behind it, that’s when things really start to happen. So I think we’re seeing a business realization as well as a rising demand from the public that we do something about our health care system that encourages the most expensive form of care and leaves a lot of people out.”