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Working uninsured call for Medicaid expansion

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

As an in-home medical assistant, Gladys Vasquez has spent many of her 50 years caring for the sick and the frail. She loves the work.

"My patient says, 'Oh, I feel better already just to see you here.' That really makes me feel good," said Vasquez.

Some weeks she labors 70 hours making enough to live on, but not enough to pay expensive health care premiums.

You see, Gladys Vasquez, medical provider has no medical coverage.

Friends and family are under strict orders if she becomes ill.

"Don't take me to the doctor and don't take me to the hospital. If I don't die from the sickness, I'm going to die from the big bill," said Vasquez.

A few miles away on the University of Houston campus, Di Trevino moves through life with her fingers crossed, praying that she won't get sick.

"If I was, I don't know how I'd do," said Trevino, 31.

When Di was laid off from her last job, she lost her health coverage.

That's left her trapped, at least temporally, in a sort of medical care no-mans-land along with millions of other uninsured Texans.

Not long ago this single mom says she was forced to visit an emergency room.

"Now you have emergency care debt and you have student loan debt and where does it end?," said Trevino, who calls health care a " basic human right".

As for the proposed expansion of Medicaid, both uninsured women agree on one life altering dividend.

"Peace of mind, peace of mind," said Trevino.

"When you've got piece of mind, that makes you feel better," said Vasquez.

But Governor Rick Perry remains firm in his opposition to Medicaid expansion saying through a spokesperson that it would be irresponsible to dump more taxpayer dollars and Texans in a system that's broken and unsustainable.

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