It’s Official: No Medicaid Expansion for Poor Texans


The Texas state legislature sent an amendment to Governor Rick Perry on Sunday that will formally prohibit the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare.

From Reuters

The proposal, an amendment to a Medicaid-related bill, says state health officials “may only provide medical assistance to a person who would have been otherwise eligible for medical assistance or for whom federal matching funds were available under the eligibility criteria for medical assistance in effect on December 31, 2013.” [...]

Democrats have called on Perry to drop his opposition to expanding Medicaid in the state, which has the nation’s highest percentage of uninsured people. About 24 percent of Texans are uninsured.

What does a refusal to expand coverage and the highest percentage of uninsured look like?

It looks like this. People crossing the border into Mexico for their basic needs.

[M]any of those who live here [in Brownsville] — including poor Latino immigrants, both legal and undocumented — suffer from diabetes and lack of insurance. Some of those uninsured diabetics, including American citizens and others living here legally, used to go across the border to Matamoros, Mexico for insulin. But now with the fear of brutal drug violence and tougher border restrictions, families share their insulin shots rather than risking the crossings.

Even if Texas refuses to expand Medicaid, taxpayers who live in the state will be paying for the benefits that will go to residents of other states, not their fellow Texans.

I don’t believe the state can hold out forever as their problems will only be exacerbated and highlighted as the law comes into full effect over the coming years, but for now there is little anyone can do other than pressure the state legislature to change course.

This may be premature but it’s possible this could hasten the state’s gradual transition into a blue state. The political ramifications of opposing the Affordable Care Act next year and in the following years is uncharted territory because something like this hasn’t happened in a generation.

(photo via AP)