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What Perry's Stance on Medicaid Expansion Means to Texas Hospitals

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, July 11, 2012

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."

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2 comments on "What Perry's Stance on Medicaid Expansion Means to Texas Hospitals"


Lou DeNino (7/27/2012 at 12:14 PM)
I think there is penty of room for negotiation between Texas and HHS on perhaps phasing-in expansion of medicaid in exchange for waivers allowing Texas to launch an "experiment" in tailoring benefits and co-pays for medicaid beneficiaries. It could be a win-win and Texas could take the credit and claim victory. It's all in how you spin it.

Karen Willingham (7/12/2012 at 1:08 PM)
I'm hoping that the political factors do not play a part in the healthcare structure that has been set forth by our President and that over time many states will allow the plan to role out and see the benefit in providing healthcare for everyone. This will benefit the economy by increasing the employment market, with healthcare growing as rapidly as it is, this is sure to bring even more jobs in healthcare. We need to stop fighting the programs that are going to benefit the people, help the needy, and the economy.