May 20, 2013
We all love Texas. And there are certain areas in which all of us who love Texas should agree that Texas can do better.
One of those is healthcare. And Texas had a golden opportunity this session to increase healthcare for Texans while simultaneously supercharging our economy.
It’s shaping up to be a colossal missed opportunity – for Texas and for all of its people.
So far this year, the Legislature has passed on the tens of billions of dollars that the federal government is offering the state to expand Medicaid to cover more Texans. The goal is obvious: by ensuring that more people have health insurance, more people will seek help before small maladies become huge healthcare problems that send those folks to emergency rooms – and their bills to taxpayers.
The federal government is offering to pay nearly all of the costs of the expansion up-front, with that match gradually decreasing to 90 percent in future years.
So far, however, Texas is taking a pass, turning it’s back on a tremendous opportunity that could do wonders both for individual Texans and our overall economy.
Here are some unpleasant facts:
So who pays the bills when so many of those folks get sick and wind up in the emergency room? In many cases, you do – in local taxes to your hospital district, federal taxes to cover reimbursements to providers, or both.
This is too great a problem – and too great an opportunity – not to take this deal and these resources or to do the right thing by Texas and its people.