Lack of Medicaid Expansion Costing Texas Billions

Public News Service

By: Mark Richardson

Texas did not expand the federal Medicaid program, even though the state has the most uninsured people in the country – and about 63% of Texans believe the state should expand coverage.

According to this week’s report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, the lack of Medicaid expansion cost the Texas economy almost $8 billion in 2015, with local governments paying another $5 billion for uncompensated care.

Report co-author Jack Hoadley said the 31 states that have expanded Medicaid have seen dramatic reductions in the number of uninsured people, millions of dollars in savings for hospitals and community health centers, and significant reductions in the cost and amount of uncompensated care.

“We heard from one clinic that said the share of uninsured patients had dropped from 51 percent of all their patients to 17 percent,” he said. “So, it’s really a dramatic drop, and you just don’t see those same kinds of changes in the non-expansion states.”

An infusion of Medicaid dollars often causes a ripple effect in state health-care systems, Hoadley said, expanding coverage, bringing new programs and improving care, particularly in rural areas. Under the Affordable Care Act, states are eligible to expand Medicaid at no cost through 2016, with a 90-10 federal-local cost-share beginning in 2020.

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