Texas Should Stick to Its Guns and Reject Medicaid Expansion
States Benefit by Tailoring Medicaid to Meet Their Unique Needs: NCPA
January 07, 2015
Expanding Medicaid eligibility and conforming to one-size-fits-all reforms would come back to bite Texas taxpayers in their wallets, warns National Center for Policy Analysis Senior Fellow Devon Herrick in a new report.
“Texas made the wise choice to forgo cookie-cutter Medicaid expansion to cover 138 percent of poverty in favor of a tailored program that would maximize the availability of private coverage for low-income residents,” says Herrick. “The state should work toward a program that meets its unique needs.”
Expanding Medicaid in Texas would result in:
- Low Medicaid provider fees. On average, Texas pays physicians participating in the fee-for-service Medicaid program two thirds as much as Medicare pays, and only half as much as private insurance pays for the same service.
- Poor access to care. Physicians are four times more likely to turn away new Medicaid patients as opposed to the uninsured who pay out of pocket.
- Displaced private insurance. One research estimate is that, if Texans expanded Medicaid as Obamacare demands, 82 percent of the newly eligible enrollees would drop their existing private coverage.
In contrast, if 600,000 uninsured Texans with incomes above 100 percent of poverty enroll in private coverage in the exchange rather than in an expanded Medicaid program, health care providers will receive roughly $25 billion more over 10 years than Medicaid would have paid them.
“Texans need a unique solution, not the cash-grab of Medicaid expansion,” cautions Herrick. “Texas should work toward a program that provides the flexibility to tailor its low-income and indigent care programs in ways that benefit low-income Texans – and that Texas taxpayers can afford over the long term.”