As predicted by many, Governor Rick Perry of Texas has backed down from his earlier calls for the state to drop its Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Governor Perry and legislators in Texas had threatened to drop Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)in order to help the state meet the $18 billion dollar shortfall in its budget, but a state report issued last week has determined that dropping the programs would devastate the healthcare system in Texas.
According to the report by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Department of Insurance, Texas’ Medicaid program:
Assists two-thirds of Texans who are in nursing homes,
Covers half the births in the state, and
Provides billions of dollars to hospitals to cover the cost of care for indigents, uninsured Texans and unauthorized immigrants.
In addition, Texas’ Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) pays for health care for 3.8 million low-income children every month.
While Texas would lose $15 billion in federal matching funds if the state opted-out of Medicaid, Texas taxpayers would still continue to pay for the program in other states. In opting-out of Medicaid, Texas hospitals could also lose $2.3 billion in federal funding, but could see an increase of $4 billion a year in uncompensated emergency room care. At the same time, 2.6 million additional Texans could lose health care coverage, but the state’s emergency room hospitals still would be required to provide safety-net care without compensation.
Although Governor Perry has retreated from the idea of withdrawing from Medicaid altogether, the governor issued a statement urging the federal government to overhaul Medicaidto give the states more control over their own programs, especially with expectations that the new federal health care law also will increase state government spending for health care.
What do you think Texas should do about Medicaid? Tell us about it!
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