It’s an old but often true saying that “everything’s bigger in Texas”. But if that’s the case, shouldn’t the shame felt by two-faced Republican leaders be out-sized as well?
For the latest example, let’s take the foolish games that the Texas Governor and Republican-dominated Legislature continue to play around Medicaid Expansion. For 5 years now, Texas has shown total opposition to the possibility of expanding the federal program under the Affordable Care Act. Leaders in Austin have done this even as their citizens continue to suffer under a lesser standard of care than other states, all based on the principle that Texas “doesn’t want any help” from the Federal Government.
Yep… that’s what the mostly Republican lawmakers say. But according to Edgar Walters of the Texas Tribune, what they do is an entirely different story…
State health officials confirmed Tuesday they have asked the Obama administration to keep a 15-month lifeline of federal Medicaid money flowing into Texas to help hospitals treat uninsured patients.
That money would offer temporary relief to health care providers who face losing the funds — some $3.1 billion annually — over state leaders’ refusal to provide government-subsidized health coverage to low-income adults under the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature health law.
Federal officials previously signaled they would stop footing the bill for at least some of Texas’ costs for “uncompensated care” — the burden on hospitals when patients can’t pay for their visits. Under the Affordable Care Act, Texas was encouraged to expand its Medicaid program to cover nearly 1 million additional adults living in poverty — a move that would have given more poor patients a means to pay for care. The state’s Republican leadership has vehemently opposed that option, criticizing Medicaid as an inefficient government program.
In a letter dated April 7 and first released to The Texas Tribune on Tuesday, Texas health officials asked the federal government to continue the funding for uncompensated care for one year and to pony up an unspecified prorated amount for an additional three months. It is unclear if the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversee those federal funds, will approve the state’s request.
Yes you read that correctly. While the lawmakers hurl criticism at Obama and practice politically-convenient ideology, they leave state health officials to grovel for funding and hang Texas hospitals out into an uncertain future.
Baseless opposition without realistic solutions? Maybe it’s time for some Austin lawmakers to grow up.