About a thousand protesters have marched on the Texas Capitol to demand that lawmakers expand Medicaid to include an additional 1.5 million poor people.
Families of the poor and disabled also called on the Legislature to properly reimburse doctors and clinics for the treatment they provide. Hundreds of doctors also lobbied lawmakers.
Republican lawmakers have so far refused to expand Medicaid, complaining that the system is broken. But advocates say that if legislators properly funded the program it would work properly. They also want the Legislature to approve $15 billion in additional spending over the next 10 years to pull down $100 billion in matching federal funds.
Perry and Republican leaders have said they will expand Medicaid if the state is exempted from federal regulations. Compromise talks are under way.