FREE HEALTH CARE
June 20, 2005
Whether you insure yourself, get health care through your employer or purchase health care for your employees, chances are you know that costs are rising. But that's not all -- you are also bearing the hidden cost of providing health care to others, says Mary Katherine Stout, a health care policy analyst at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
This past session, the Texas Legislature passed a $139.4 billion budget, appropriating almost $38 billion for Medicaid alone. This federal and state partnership provides public health insurance to low-income Texans, driving the state budget and edging out other priorities.
- With a 14 percent increase in Medicaid funding over the previous biennium, the Legislature has catapulted Medicaid to the single largest budget item -- a full $4 billion more than the state will spend on public education.
- Over the next two years, per-capita Medicaid spending will amount to $1,690 for every man, woman and child in Texas.
- Additionally, the state will also spend $1.4 billion to fund the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
All told, the per-capita cost of Medicaid, SCHIP and state employee health insurance comes to about $1,841 for every person in Texas; that's without factoring in federal health care expenditures in Texas, state taxpayers' cost for teachers' health insurance, or the health insurance costs of city and county employees.
To fund Medicaid, CHIP and state employees' health insurance over the next two years, a family of four will pay almost $7,400. The glaring reality is that for many Texas families, the tab for other people's health care rivals what they pay for their own care, says Stout.
Source: Mary Katherine Stout, "Health care costs rise; taxpayers foot the bill," Austin American-Statesman, June 15, 2005.
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