The debate in Texas is continuing over whether or not the state should expand Medicaid per the requirements to get more funding under the new healthcare law, or if it should back off and downsize the whole program. There are differing views on which tactic would ultimately help balance the state budget, with Governor Perry advocating for shrinking the program.
Some Texas economists disagree with the governor's stated plan, arguing that while the expansion of Medicaid is an imperfect solution, it will help the state save money overall. The optional expansion includes more adults that cannot afford healthcare on their own, with the federal government providing full funding for those patients for the first few years of the program and at least 90 percent of the funding after that.
For Texas patients, the fate of the Medicaid system will be highly impactful. If the state does choose to expand the program, many more people will have access to regular, preventative care. However, the concerns about the costs to the state and possible increased taxes are also a concern for many residents who are saving for their retirement or planning for their long term care needs.
Medicaid and Medicare are important parts of anyone's healthcare planning and general retirement planning. One must think carefully about the range of options available and choose the most advantageous mixture of government benefits and private plan options that suit individual needs. Many people may also need to adjust their plans once the fate of Texas Medicaid has been determined.
Source: Texas Tribune, "Would Medicaid Expansion Bankrupt or Save Texas Budget?" Becca Aaronson, Oct. 16, 2012.