We are proud of Houston’s role in leading advances in medicine. From the first heart transplant to the cutting-edge research in the Texas Medical Center today, we have led the way for decades.

But even though we are a leader in health care research, and cutting edge advances, many people in our community and across the country do not have access to quality healthcare. We have an obligation to make sure they do. This takes many forms, from maintaining and improving the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to defending reproductive healthcare and woman’s right to choose.

The ACA was a strong first step toward making health care accessible, but we have work ahead of us to improve it.

Strengthening the ACA begins with stabilizing the market. Our community relies on the healthcare industry – not just for our own care, but also for our jobs. We have the largest medical center in the world, and instability in the healthcare market means instability in Houston’s economy.

Millions of Texans are enrolled under ACA. Millions more in the state lack health insurance entirely. To cripple effective and affordable health care for our citizens, the Trump Administration has held the cost-sharing reduction subsidies hostage, leading to premium increases and making healthcare less affordable. Prescription drug costs are skyrocketing. Patients are going without care. And insurance companies are raking in record profits.

John Culberson has been the Trump Administration’s eager accomplice in trying to take health care away from the people who need it most. Culberson voted to repeal or defund the Affordable Care Act more than 20 times knowing it would cause residents in the district with pre-existing conditions and many others to lose their healthcare coverage.

It is time to devote real and serious attention to addressing the pressing health care needs of Houstonians and all Americans, not recklessly dismantling the system with no alternative plan in place, as the Republican Congress has sought to do at every turn.

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