Governor Rick Perry's decision to opt out of Medicaid expansion is based on political ideology (and/or political ambition). There is no sane explanation for not recapturing the $76 billion the state will lose by not participating in the health care exchange and the near full funding of Medicaid expansion that comes with it.
Texas leads the nation in uninsured individuals. That too is costly. Medicaid provides health care coverage, primarily for the poor and the elderly. That includes children with chronic health problems, such as asthma. It includes the cost of care for senior citizens in nursing homes. Two million Texans would be covered by the health care exchanges called for by the Affordable Care Act (it doesn't matter to me, that President Obama says he likes the term 'Obamacare', I refuse to use it!). Another two million would be covered by Medicaid expansion. How a state in which 25% of the population are uninsured can say 'Thanks, but no thanks' to money taxpayers have already sent to Washington is a mystery that has yet to be explain.
Perry wrote in USA Today, "Setting aside the obvious fact that health insurance is readily available under current conditions — the problem has been price, not availability — these exchanges represent nothing more than another federal power grab in the guise of a supposedly free market."
"States were given the option to set up and execute their own exchanges — at their own expense. The fine print, however, specified that the exchanges would have to follow all rules and guidelines imposed by the federal government, with little to no flexibility. The kicker: Many of these rules and regulations are unknown."
Interestingly enough, some 23 states have figured out what the rules and regulations are...
Governor Perry, along with other GOP governors across the country who are balking at the exchange and the Medicaid expansion, have taken a stance which defies logic: why would he - and they - consign individuals making $15,000 a year. or families making less than $40,000 to needless emergency room health care, when an acceptable alternative is available?! And why would he - and they - consign insured tax payers to the paying for the uninsured - twice?!
Insured tax payers pay for the uninsured through higher taxes (total federal, state and local spending on the uninsured is estimated to cost more than $35 billion) and higher insurance premium costs (up to $1017 a year;).
How is that 'fiscally conservative'?
If you believe, as do I, that Texas cannot afford to be victimized by a political ideology that costs more than it pays, join CitySquare, Dallas Area Interfaith and other organizations throughout the state, in urging the Governor and our state legislators to stop this foolishness and do something that only makes good sense: opt into the Medicaid expansion and the health care exchange.