| We reported yesterday that Rick Perry has made clear his refusal to accept the Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act, in a gutless and inhumane effort to remain politically relevant and deny low-income Texans access to affordable, quality health insurance.
A recent article from the Dallas Morning News makes clear that Perry's decision will just pass the buck down to property tax payers, since our emergency rooms and healthcare districts will continue to shoulder the cost of folks who don't have health insurance. Perry could have helped put between 1.5 and 1.8 million Texans on the Medicaid rolls. His stubborn refusal to care for the working poor of his state is shameful, and it's also bad economics for the county commissioners who now have to foot the bill for their ER care instead.
From the DMN:
If the Texas Legislature chooses not to expand its Medicaid rolls in 2014 to cover an additional 1.5 million people, counties and public hospitals would continue to shoulder the burden of paying for the uninsured, who often seek expensive care in emergency rooms.
Unlike many states, Texas does not directly subsidize the cost of caring for the uninsured. Instead, taxpayers in Dallas County and elsewhere help pick up that tab through property taxes that support safety-net hospitals such as Parkland Memorial Hospital.
Just because Perry won't give low-income Texans health insurance doesn't mean they won't get sick or need medical care. The problem is, his decision forces many of these folks to continue to rely on the emergency room, and pass the cost on to the healthcare districts in their areas, who in turn may need to raise property taxes to keep up with our growing low-income, uninsured population.
Some experts have even suggested that the Medicaid expansion could result in lower county tax rates for healthcare districts due to the increased revenue these hospitals would receive from Medicaid patients -- i.e. Medicaid would be paying for their care, not the county tax payers via property taxes to the healthcare districts.
While conservatives are patting Rick Perry on the back for sticking it to the feds and the poors, remember this -- really, he's sticking it to property taxpayers, who are going to end up footing the bill for medical care for those whom Rick Perry willfully forces to remain uninsured.