The press release announcing Gov. Perry's position on Medicaid expansion provided some clues into the system he would like to see implemented in Texas. It would have reasonable benefits tailored to individual needs and stress personal accountability. It would also allow copayments or cost sharing.
In my conversations with stakeholder groups in Texas it's apparent that they are disappointed in Gov. Perry's stand on the Medicaid expansion. The lack of a state-run health insurance exchange is not quite as pressing of a problem because the federal government will step in to develop and run the online market for health insurance.
But the statistics are compelling. About 20% of the state's adults live in poverty; 17% of children and 33% of adults are uninsured. The uninsured turn to the hospital emergency department for their healthcare needs. Their expenses are shouldered by others in the form of higher insurance premiums and higher taxes.
In a statement, Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas noted that in 2011 it provided $605 million in uncompensated care. "Those patients will still need healthcare and they will still come to safety net hospitals like Parkland for treatment. If our state is going to turn away hundreds of millions in federal funds, we are eager to see what our leaders will propose to replace them."