Roundtable: Addressing the Health Equity Gap in Texas with Rep. Tony Gonzales

June 7, 2021

Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) recently joined a virtual roundtable conversation hosted by Molina Healthcare on addressing the health equity gap in Texas.

Rep. Gonzales met with representatives from Molina Healthcare and the San Antonio Community Health Workers Association (SACHWA). Sharing his thoughts on the state of health care in Texas, he applauded the expansion of telehealth amid the COVID-19 crisis, and he stressed that many in his district lack access to broadband services. He said the expansion of infrastructure and increased access to broadband services must be a priority as the country emerges from this public health crisis.

Rep. Gonzales also shared his support for consumer choice and highlighted his experience with receiving health insurance through the Veterans Affairs (VA). Given his experience with the coverage provided by the VA, he noted he would not support an entirely government-run health care system to improve health equity. He said, “I believe in an ‘all of the above’ health care solution.. People deserve options… but there are a lot of gaps we have to fill in, especially in rural areas. I’ve been an advocate for that, and I’ll continue to push for that.”

Kelsey Letcher, Interim Plan President for Molina Healthcare of Texas, discussed the steps Molina is taking to increase access and address social determinants of health. “At Molina, we recognize that health care isn’t the only driver of a member’s health outcomes,” Letcher said. “A lot of it is unique to their environments and the socioeconomic drivers in their community.”

She shared how Molina has provided meals for quarantined members, offered PPP to members served by home-based care workers, and supported organizations like Feeding Texas with grants. Letcher also highlighted Molina’s work to broaden access to care via telehealth, echoing Rep. Gonzales’ support for expanding broadband access to rural communities in the state.

Guadalupe Cornejo, Lead Organizer and Community Health Instructor for, discussed the organization’s work to improve care and health education efforts in vulnerable communities. Cornejo noted that SACHWA’s network of 300 community health workers address social determinants of health by helping non-English speakers overcome language barriers with health centers and insurance providers. After learning that SACHWA assists asylum seekers, Rep. Gonzales commended Cornejo’s efforts, noting “a lot of these individuals need medical attention just like anyone else does.”

The roundtable concluded with Rep. Gonzales thanking all the participants for the insightful dialogue on ways to improve access to health quality care among Texans.

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