What They’re Watching: Rep. Garnet Coleman

Rep. Garnet Coleman has served the people of District 147 in the Texas House of Representatives continuously since 1991. He is currently the Senior ranking member of the Public Health Committee as well as the Chairman of the County Affairs Committee. Rep. Coleman also served as a member of the House Select Committee for Mental Health during the 84th Legislative Session and the House Select Committee on Opioid and Substance Abuse during the 85th Legislative Session.

Rep. Coleman joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss past, present, and future Medicaid expansion in Texas.


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The reason why we have a large population that is uninsured is that we haven’t done what other states have done to make sure people have health coverage. If we did the Medicaid expansion, or coverage expansion, we would save money on the indigent care level, on the county level, because that’s who we’re spending the county money on. That would be better overall, and using the federal money that we send to Washington and don’t get a lot of back, that would be a better use of our funds.

But there’s this idea that Medicaid is welfare, and it’s not. I think it says something about your values – and first of all if you treat people or prevent illness, you lower cost – but you wouldn’t leave someone dying in the street. It’s a better way and a more cost effective way to take a care of people.

And I think local governments should participate. That’s the part about Texas; we’re kind of weird in that we do have a sub-safety net, we’ve been one of the cheapest states when it comes to Medicaid, at least in terms of what’s in the benefits package, but it’s gotten worse. That’s why more people are uninsured, because we’ve actually cut out areas of coverage that we used to cover on the Medicaid program.”