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Texas Governor Won’t Implementing State Insurance or Expand Medicaid

By on July 10, 2012 in Health News Texas with 0 Comments

by Ed Lallo/Newsroom Ink

Texas governor Rick Perry initiated the first step in a national health care isolation policy for low-income Texans. In a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, he confirmed that Texas has no intention of implementing a state insurance exchange or expanding Medicaid as part of Obamacare.

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“If anyone was in doubt, we in Texas have no intention to implement so-called state exchanges or to expand Medicaid under Obamacare,” exclaimed a defiant Perry whose health insurance is paid by taxpayers. Photo: Texas Governor’s Office

The governor, who has continuously spoken out against the Affordable Healthcare Act, has offered only criticism and contempt for the law; offering no constructive plans on how to tackle the looming problems other than calling for the federal government to issue large block grants of cash with few restriction on the state’s health care spending decision.

“If anyone was in doubt, we in Texas have no intention to implement so-called state exchanges or to expand Medicaid under Obamacare,” exclaimed a defiant Perry whose health insurance is paid entirely by taxpayers. “I will not be party to socializing healthcare and bankrupting my state in direct contradiction to our Constitution and our founding principles of limited government.

According to the governor, any state exchange must be approved by the Obama Administration and operate under specific federally mandated rules, many of which have yet to be established. Expanding Medicaid would mandate the admission of millions of additional Texans into the already unsustainable Medicaid program, at a potential cost of billions to Texas taxpayers.

Support and criticism of the governor is divided down party lines within the state, with republicans supporting him and democrats vocally criticizing his decision. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has estimated the Medicaid expansion would cost the state $27 billion in the first 10 years, a number many Democrats dispute.

The issue has also taken on the persona of a class struggle; the ‘haves’ deciding on the fate of health care for the ‘have nots’.

“The passage of health care reform marked a significant step towards better care for all Americans,” said Jesús Garza, interim executive director for the Seton Healthcare Family. Photo: Ed Lallo/Newsroom Ink

Texas has the highest uninsured rate in the nation, with about 6.2 million residents; almost a quarter of the state’s population fails to have adequate health insurance.

Perry has frequently called for the allocation of Medicaid funding that would include establishing reasonable benefits, personal accountability, and limits on services in Medicaid. It would also allow co-pays or cost sharing that apply to all Medicaid eligible groups – not just optional Medicaid populations – and tailor benefits to needs of the individual rather than a blanket entitlement.

“I will not be party to socializing health care and bankrupting my state in direct contradiction to our Constitution and our founding principles of limited government,” Perry said in a statement.

“The passage of health care reform marked a significant step towards better care for all Americans,” said Jesús Garza, interim executive director for the Seton Healthcare Family, on the announcement of the recent Supreme Court decision. “The law is not perfect, but it is a step in the right direction that encourages us to build on ways to make health care better, more affordable, more accessible and person-centered.”

A recent federal government report on the delivery of health care services ranked Texas health care services and delivery as among the worst in the nation. The Agency for Health Care Research and Quality issued the national review of state health care programs, a report the governor has called “fake and false”.

“I stand proudly with the growing chorus of governors who reject the Obamacare power grab,” said the governor whose state ranked last in the report. “Neither a “state” exchange nor the expansion of Medicaid under this program would result in better “patient protection” or in more “affordable care.” They would only make Texas a mere appendage of the federal government when it comes to health care.”

According to Dan Stultz, president and chief executive officer of the organization, the Medicaid program is severely flawed. The program is plagued with below-cost reimbursements for care and concerns over whether it can handle the possible million more enrollees. Photo: Texas Hospital Association

The Texas Hospital Association organization agrees with Perry that the Medicaid program is severely flawed.  According to Dan Stultz, president and chief executive officer of the organization, the program is plagued with below-cost reimbursements for care and concerns over whether it can handle the possible million more enrollees.

“Without the Medicaid expansion, many will remain uninsured, seeking care in emergency rooms, shifting costs to the privately insured, and increasing uncompensated care to health care providers,” Stultz said in a statement to the Associated Press. “With a strained state budget, it’s hard to imagine addressing the uninsured problem in Texas without leveraging federal funds, which will now go to other states that choose to expand their Medicaid program.”

Perry has consistently rejected federal funding when strings are attached that impose long-term financial burdens on Texans, or cede state control of state issues to the federal government. In 2009, he rejected Washington funding for the state’s unemployment insurance program and in 2010 declined “Race to the Top” dollars, which would have provided up-front federal education funding if Texas adopted national standards and testing, instead opting to stay with a state testing program that has proven severely flawed and has failed to produce intended results.


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