“With Obamacare mandates coming down, we have a situation where we cannot reduce benefits or change eligibility” to cut costs, said State Representative Warren Chisum, Republican of Pampa, the veteran conservative lawmaker who recently entered the race for speaker of the House. “This system is bankrupting our state,” he said. “We need to get out of it. And with the budget shortfall we’re anticipating, we may have to act this year.”
The Heritage Foundation, a conservative research organization, estimates Texas could save $60 billion from 2013 to 2019 by opting out of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, dropping coverage for acute care but continuing to finance long-term care services. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which has 3.6 million children, people with disabilities and impoverished Texans enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP, will release its own study on the effect of ending the state’s participation in the federal match program at some point between now and January.
Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured adults and children in the nation. Medicaid provides coverage for 2.3 million Texas children, though over 70 percent of the eligible children in the state are not enrolled. For every dollar Texas spends to fund Medicaid, they get $1.55 back in federal matching funds.
As always, budgets are balanced on the backs of those least able to afford it. It's difficult to imagine how having 2.3 million MORE uninsured children could be a badge of conservative pride.
Texas also has*:
The third highest teen birth rate
The third highest poverty rate
The lowest number of high school graduates
The lowest voter turnout
* from an interview on NPR
cross-posted at MainSt/workingamerica.org