Texas Braces for Medicaid Status Quo
"Certainly folks are concerned about the level of uninsured. They are concerned about the cost of healthcare. They understand the cost shift to taxpayers and the private market. There is a lot of discussion about it, but the general political headwind in this state against Obamacare is difficult to overcome," he says.
Perhaps the best hope for states that are ideological entrenched against Obamacare lies with the so-called Arkansas Medicaid Model, which would use Medicaid expansion money to subsidize premiums for commercial plans purchased through health insurance exchanges. That proposal is still being vetted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
It's not clear if Texas would adopt a similar plan. Even if it did it's not clear if the state could expand its rolls by Jan. 1, 2014 deadline.
Hawkins remains optimistic that some sort of solution will be reached.
"Actually, in retrospect, we are pleased the debate got as far as it did where we were actually talking about alternatives because early on it looked like folks were being reticent even to have that discussion given the will of the leadership," he says. "But we did advance the discussion even to the point where if things in other states continue to move forward we may have a chance to revisit this administratively."
John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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