Texas Health Scare: Why Medicaid Matters

Now that we are 7 months past the historic Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act, and 4 months past the historic reelection of President Obama and Democratic control of the Senate, the Lone Star state is still caught in Obamacare limbo. Texas Governor Rick Perry and Republicans are still rejecting the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. That of course is nothing new. But what is new about the situation? Texans are starting to pay attention.

On Tuesday March 5th in Austin, thousands rallied to support Medicaid expansion, marching up Congress ave to the capitol building. As Chuck Lindell of the Austin American Statesman reports, the concerned citizens came armed with the facts behind the state’s desperate situation with Health Care….

“We have the opportunity today, and over the next couple of months, to strengthen something that we know makes a difference in all of our lives,” Mimi Garcia with Texas Well and Healthy, a health care advocacy organization, told the crowd.

“Texas Medicaid works,” Garcia said, listing beneficiaries that include children, senior citizens and people with disabilities who are able to live in their communities “and the millions of Texans who are waiting for health care coverage.”

Fellow Houston blogger Charles Kuffner has written extensively about the emergence of the Arkansas option… a unique compromise that Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe (a Democrat) has worked out with his mostly Republican legislature. It’s an offer to still take the dollars from Medicaid expansion, and have the state cover the additional people through the private market. The state would use the insurance exchange to match eligible citizens up with a plan.

I disagree with Mr. Kuffner on this, and I think it would be a bad idea for Texas in the long run. Here’s why we need to bite the bullet and just take Medicaid. One reason? Texas is big… a much bigger state and therefore a much bigger problem. Lest we forget, Harris County has more people than the entire state of Arkansas, not to mention more uninsured peoople. Where the Natural State could build an exchange relatively quickly to recruit private plans, the Lone Star State would be… well… ALONE in how massive a problem this would present. Not to mention that Arkansas is already working on it’s exhange marketplace, and Texas has yet to even lift a finger for ANY aspect of Obamacare compliance. At 17 percent, Arkansas also has a lower percentage of uninsured people to cover (verses a whopping 26 percent for the state of Texas).

Also the likelihood is that the “Arkansas option” will be more expensive than taking government Medicaid. That expense is compounded even further in Texas because we do so little to regulate private companies to begin with. The state doesn’t ask any requirements of the private market saying that certain groups must be covered, nor does it watchdog any prices for insurance plans. A company can openly discriminate and charge much higher rates to at-risk patients. Arkansas doesn’t do much, but the does have some bare minimum protections that are better than Texas. My opinion is this… Medicaid isn’t perfect, but what it does for the state is set a standard that will affect even private health plans when expanded. Without that floor, millions Texas families continue to fall pray to the “Wild West approach” to health care, and waste even more taxpayer dollars in the process.

This week’s rally on the Capitol is a good start, but it’s time for Texans to provide swift action to make this Medicaid expansion happen. Democrats, if you’re looking for a cause to take up in Texas, this is it. Too many families are waiting on our government to make the right decision for our state. Every day they delay is a day closer to unnecessary health complications, and sometimes personal tragdies. Texas matters… and it’s high time that lawmakers be reminded of it.

(photo credit: Deborah Cannon from Statesman.com)

2 thoughts on “Texas Health Scare: Why Medicaid Matters”

  1. Hello Friends,

    Governor Rick Perry millions of under-privileged poor Texans who do not have any Health Coverage will be covered under The Affordable Care ACT (ACA) expansion of MEDICAID!

    My Physician wife’s practice is partly dependent on MEDICAID and its viability. Please allow the expansion of MEDICAID to occur in Texas under The Affordable Care ACT.

    Believe it or not IT IS A FACT: If states choose to expand Medicaid, the federal government will cover 100 percent of the costs from 2014 to 2016. The feds’ contribution will begin to decrease in 2017, but will never be less than 90 percent, under the ACA.

    That’s why I created a petition to Governor Rick Perry, Texas Governor, The Texas State House, The Texas State Senate, and Governor Rick Perry, which says:

    “Please ACCEPT the FREE EXPANSION of MEDICAID under The Affordable Care ACT.”

    Will you sign this petition? Click here:


    Ajay Jain
    Twitter ajain31.
    Mobile: 214-207-9781

  2. The Voting Rights Act (VRA) must be upheld by the supreme court:

    The numerous despicable attempts to restrict voting made during the last election cycle are proof of that. Anyone who truly believes the VRA is obsolete needs to recognize, given last year’s voter suppression efforts, the Jim Crowe era is biding its time.

    Now even if you are dumb enough to believe that all is OK with the world and there are no reasons to have the voting rights act on the books. Then why are the the parties at opposite end’s on this? Why are the Republicans in America trying to keep people from the poles?

    The argument is that VRA is discriminatory against Southern states to require them but not other states to seek pre-clearance for voting laws; I actually agree. The Voting Rights Act should require *ALL* states to seek pre-clearance. After what we’ve seen the GOP try to pass in states all across the nation prior to the last 2012 election, I see no reason this safeguard against voter suppression should be limited to just Southern states as suggested by VRA of 1965 but now should be expanded to apply to ALL 50 states.

    Ajay Jain
    Twitter @ajain31
    Mobile: 214-207-9781

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