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What the Texas Legislature Didn't Do for Medicaid Expansion

The Texas Legislature finished up this week having done absolutely nothing to advance Medicaid expansion in Texas.

It wasn't for a lack of trying. Democratic lawmakers championed Medicaid expansion all session long:

  • Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston), Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer (D-San Antonio), Sen. Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso), and numerous others all filed legislation with multiple approaches for increasing coverage expansion. 
  • Senator Ellis offered an amendment to expand Medicaid on the Senate floor, but it was defeated on party lines.
  • Rep. Chris Turner (D-Fort Worth) even tried to pass legilsation that would protect 1.2 million Texans whose health coverage is in jeopardy thanks to Republican efforts to gut the Affordable Care Act through the Supreme Court.

The case for Medicaid expansion is still clear. Drawing down as much as $100 billion in Texas taxpayer dollars to provide coverage for well over a million Texans is a great deal. Other states are realizing real budget savings after they've expanded Medicaid. Dozens of chambers of commerce endorsed coverage expansion, both for the job creation potential and the reduction in uncompensated care costs hospitals and taxpayers have to cover.

In the end, the GOP refused every proposal for coverage expansion - even the specific proposal the GOP said was necessary to expand Medicaid.

Our advocacy work marches on - literally. Advocates from Texas are currently on a two-week walk from North Carolina to D.C. to help raise awareness about coverage expansion. We'll have more on their march next week.

For now, here's a look at just a few other good write-ups about how the consequences of the Legislature doing nothing to expand Medicaid.

 
"Held hostage by lawmakers afflicted with extreme ideological sclerosis when it comes to anything related to the federal Affordable Care Act, the issue didn't even come up in the just-concluded legislative session."
 
"Texas leaders continued their opposition to expanding Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature health law, so the state continues to forgo billions of dollars in federal aid..."
 
 
"The problem is in hating the Affordable Care Act, the state is leaving on the table as much as $100 billion of federal money over 10 years - money that would pay for health insurance for more than a million of its working poor. This is driving many in the state's business community bonkers."
 
 
"In Texas, it seems that it is more important to hate the ACA than to provide for its residents and business owners. It's better to decry the working poor and place barriers to wholeness in their paths. This bluster is bad for Texas."