Texas leads the nation with the highest uninsured rate of approximately 27 percent. Roughly six million Texans have no health insurance, including one million children. Forty percent of the state’s pregnant women do not receive appropriate pre-natal care. As Texas residents, these numbers are troubling and ultimately, the key to solve these problems is working together in a collaborative manner.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has some elements that need refinement. No one disputes this. As we implement changes in the health care delivery system, we must embrace its strong guiding principles, especially regarding the uninsured population. The plan for Medicaid expansion is not perfect, but let’s not let perfect be the enemy of good.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has voiced valid concerns regarding personal responsibility, program sustainability and parties honoring agreed upon terms and conditions. Specifically, he’s concerned with future federal funding. Hopefully, we can work together to develop a feasible, workable plan. Such a plan might include co-pay requirements for personal accountability, modifications to the existing Medicaid program for long-term sustainability and provisions such as a material adverse event clause for funding changes contrary to original terms and conditions.
If we work together to develop a Texas Medicaid expansion plan incorporating these solutions, the financial impact could be $85 billion over ten years to our citizens.
A bipartisan cooperative approach for Medicaid expansion could prove beneficial in addressing our considerable numbers of uninsured Texas residents. Such an approach would also have a meaningful impact on the state’s economy.