On April 1, Governor Perry and Senators Cornyn and Cruz hosted a press conference and issued a joint press release, in which they again made the flimsy case against Medicaid expansion. Sadly, it was not an April Fools joke.
In the press conference, Perry claimed that, “In Texas, only three out of every ten doctors are accepting new Medicaid patients, and we fear that number may actually decrease if expansion went through.” His numbers are just wrong.
Read more below the jump.Politifact did some digging, and found that it's actually more like six in ten. While it's true that 32 percent of Texas physicians accept all new Medicaid patients, an additional 26 percent on top of that admit Medicaid patients with some limitations. That means that closer to six in ten physicians accept at least some new Medicaid patients.
And the numbers were corroborated by recent data from the the Health and Human Services Commission:
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission told us that some 67 percent of the state's physicians had accepted Medicaid at least once during a recent 12-month period. Agency spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman told us by email that 34,290 Texas physicians had claims paid by Medicaid in the fiscal year that ran through August 2011. According to the Texas Medical Board, there were nearly 51,000 practicing physicians in the state at about that time.
In the press release, a similar statement is made in a quote from Brooke Rollins of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, that Medicaid “provides poor care that's even been proven in some cases to be worse than no insurance at all, and over two-thirds of Texas physicians won't accept new Medicaid patients.”
Aside from the absurdity of the assertion that having health insurance is actually worse than not having health insurance, their source is highly questionable.
Before becoming President of a 'free-market' think tank, Brooke Rollins was Perry's Deputy General Counsel. She has a background in law and agriculture development. It's not that people who aren't doctors can't speak about Medicaid. But if the Governor and our two Senators are going to try to reject Medicaid by saying the care isn't of a high enough quality, quoting a former Perry staffer with no connection to health care or the medical field is not compelling, to say the least.
That's because the Governor and our Senators are grasping at straws. They're turning down a huge amount of coverage and a huge amount of money for the sake of giving the finger to the President – without any solid arguments or evidence to support them.