Tag Archives: Texas ACA healthcare expansion

Wait… How Much Is Texas Losing By NOT Expanding Healthcare?

This is something that I’ve written on previously, but now some professionals have given more comprehensive numbers to prove what we know to be true. Texas is losing out big time by not taking any form of the ACA Medicaid expansion.  Here’s more on this shocker from the Dallas Morning News

We’ve heard the arguments before. Advocates of expanding Medicaid, with the federal government picking up at least 90 percent of the tab, say it’s the humanitarian thing to do — and makes good sense, as the new billions of federal Medicaid matching money will generate new jobs. Opponents such as Gov. Rick Perry and state GOP leaders say there’s no guarantee the feds can make good on their promise down the road, given Washington’s big budget deficits. They also cite fears that once an entitlement’s offered, it’ll be hard to yank back. That could imperil state finances, warn the critics, who also fret about fostering more government dependency.

What’s new is someone has put a price tag on what taxpayers in the 23 holdout states, such as Texas, will pay to expand Medicaid in 27 other states and the District of Columbia.

The bottom line: Between 2013 and 2022, federal taxpayers in Texas will cough up $36.2 billion for the expansion’s cost elsewhere.That’s in addition to forgoing $65.6 billion of new federal Medicaid matching money, which would’ve generated $34.3 billion in additional Medicaid reimbursements for Texas hospitals, according to Urban Institute researchers.

So basically… by not expanding Medicaid or creating an alternative option, the state of Texas will lose over $136 billion dollars.

That’s worth repeating in a bigger font.

By not expanding Medicaid or creating an alternative option, the state of Texas will lose over $136 billion dollars.  

Sorry for yelling, but this blog can’t even describe how simply surreal the Texas TEApublican attitude is about Obamacare.  But even beyond the loss of money, Texans will suffer a greater loss by not improving our healthcare system… the loss of lives.  By refusing expansion, TEApublicans will voluntarily cripple hospitals all across the state once the ACA funding cuts kick in. Many hospitals may be forced to close down entirely.  That’s fewer hospitals to serve a rapidly growing state… growth which is propelled predominantly by low wage, no benefits employment.  Under these circumstances, Not expanding Medicaid means more Texans are going to die.

Despite all of these mounting factors, Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick and a bevy of other TEApublicans have vowed to never, ever, ever take the ACA expansion.  It’s an ill-fated stance, but they have stuck with it anyway throughout this election season.  Eventually, Texans must take them at their word that they do not have the state’s best interests at heart here.

Meanwhile if Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte are elected, they have every intention of finding a way to expand healthcare in the state of Texas.   They will not leave our state’s hard-earned tax dollars to be given away to people in other states.  Now that we finally have a monster price tag with this issue, let’s hope that it gains more traction during the remaining parts of election season.

Here’s the main point… This is 2014, and Obamacare is real. No longer do we have to banter about some “boogeyman bill” that’s going to kidnap your  doctor like a thief in the night. Texas doesn’t have to wonder what would happen if we expand Medicaid… We can see for ourselves by just crossing the state line. People in Arkansas are living the reality of healthcare expansion right now, and the system, while not perfect, is working pretty darn good. So it’s time for the TEApublicans to make a choice. Either put Texas first now, or get out of the way. This November, I’m hoping for the latter.

Arkansas Sees Huge ACA Benefits, Texas Pays

Texas’ neighbor to the Northeast has seen some big benefits from the Affordable Care Act, and more specifically the state’s uniquely crafted Private Option Expansion.  Here’s the story from Andy Davis of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Arkansas had a bigger drop this year in the percentage of its adult residents who lack insurance than any other state, a survey released Tuesday found.

The survey by Gallup Inc. found that 12.4 percent of Arkansas adults lacked insurance as of mid year this year, a drop of 10.1 percentage points compared with 22.5 percent who lacked insurance last year.

As a result, the state went from having the second-highest rate of uninsured adults in the country, ahead of only Texas, to being tied with New Hampshire at No. 22 in the percentage of adults who reported having insurance.


In a statement, Gov. Mike Beebe noted that the Gallup survey indicates the number of uninsured adults in the state fell by 45 percent.

“When we worked with the Arkansas Legislature to pass the Private Option, we said it would make Arkansas a national leader for innovative health-care solutions, and this report proves that to be true,” Beebe said. “Even though not everyone was happy with the circumstances surrounding the Affordable Care Act in our state, we showed that we could find a bipartisan path to make the best of the situation and help our people.”

Amy Webb, an Arkansas Department of Human Services spokesman, said in an email, “The Private Option is the reason Arkansas is at the top of the list.

“We can’t say exactly how many enrollees were uninsured before, but we know these people are the working poor, and it’s likely many couldn’t afford insurance or it wasn’t offered to them.”

She noted that Texas, which did not expand Medicaid, had the highest rate of adults who lacked insurance in the country last year and as of mid year this year, although the rate fell from 27 percent of adults last year to 24 percent this year.

As discussed previously, that 3 percent drop is due in large part to more people just discussing healthcare during so many heated Obamacare battles.  But as Arkansas has proven, so much more is left to be done to help the people of Texas.  Literally millions of people are being denied access to healthcare because of short-sighted decisions from a few Republican lawmakers in Austin.

Here’s the part that the Democrat-Gazette doesn’t share… the money being used to provide healthcare for Arkansans comes from Texas taxpayers.  We send our money to Washington so it can get invested in other states, while our citizens live in constant fear of a health crisis. Here’s more from the Commonwealth Fund

The 20 states choosing not to expand their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act are forgoing billions of dollars in federal funds, while residents in their states are contributing to the cost of the expansions in other states, according to a new Commonwealth Fund study.

After taking into account federal taxes paid by state residents, states with the highest net losses include Texas, which will see a net loss of $9.2 billion in 2022; Florida, which will lose $5 billion; Georgia, which will lose $2.9 billion, and Virginia, which will lose $2.8 billion.

Even now on Abbott’s website, he remains fully committed to destroying the law, while offering no alternative solution for how to help the 6 million Texans lacking any insurance options.  Instead, he and other Texas Republicans claim that the Obamacare money is some sort of “gimmick” by the Federal government.  They say there is no way that the deal offered by the Obama administration would actually last, and that it will somehow leave states on the hook for healthcare costs later.

What they keep forgetting to mention?  Texas is on the hook for healthcare costs nowHospitals in the Lone Star state are already burdened with $5 billion dollars annually in uncompensated care, a cost that is passed on to all Texans via higher insurance premiums. Given that the state is currently in the midst of an historic population boom (led by low-wage, no-insurance jobs), we can expect those costs to keep going UP.

Meanwhile in Arkansas, preliminary numbers show a 24 percent decrease of uninsured patients at the emergency room, with a 2 percent decrease of overall ER visits.

Thankfully this November, we have a clear choice. A vote for Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte is a vote to support healthcare expansion in the state, and to reclaim tax dollars that we are sending elsewhere.  Arkansas found a bi-partisan, common sense solution that is saving lives today.  Instead of paying for their prosperity, isn’t it time for Texas to do the same?