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Texas counties consider alternative Medicaid expansion

We wrote a few weeks ago about Texas Governor Rick Perry and his announcement that he would be opting out of the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. The expansion would require states to cover more residents but would also provide additional federal funding for the program. Choosing not to expand as the law asks would result in significant financial penalties for the Medicaid program in Texas.

Now, county government are banding together to try to avoid those penalties and expand Medicaid to qualify for the funding. Private healthcare companies have been leading the charge and it seems that both small and large counties, including Houston and Dallas counties, are interested in exploring the option.

The plan for the counties is dependent on approval from the White House and the Texas legislature, since they would need a waiver of a requirement that the entire state apply the same eligibility standards.

In Bexar County, local officials say that the proposed expansion under the Affordable Care Act would save them approximately $53 million per year. One local lawmaker told reporters that with those savings they would be able to reduce taxes and improve some services.

Texas currently has the highest rate of uninsured residents in the country at 24 percent.

For Texas residents who are concerned about how the expansion or lack of expansion of Medicaid may affect their healthcare and financial choices, the success or failure of this proposal would have a major impact on their long term care planning.

Our firm assists Houston residents in Medicaid planning and other comprehensive care and estate planning. More information is available on our law firm's website.

Source: Washington Post, "Texas counties consider going it alone on Medicaid expansion," N.C. Aizenman, August 26, 2012.

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