Texas lawmakers are still debating the issue of whether or not to expand the state’s Medicaid coverage as a part of the larger federal healthcare reform. Governor Perry has been among several governors to oppose the optional expansion, which would be funded fully by the federal government at first. After a period of time, the state government would be responsible for paying 10 percent of the costs associated with the expansion, which the governor and many lawmakers are concerned will be too expensive.
On the other hand, the expansion would help bring healthcare coverage to low income Texans who have previously not qualified for Medicaid but who cannot afford or do not have access to private health insurance. Medicaid is also an important piece of the equation for older Texas residents who need nursing home care.
With the law in flux, it’s important that Texas residents look at their current healthcare planning and make sure it will be sustainable whether or not lawmakers decide to go ahead with the expansion.
There are two proposals by lawmakers to try to circumvent Governor Perry’s opposition to the expansion. One proposal is to try to get the Medicaid expansion on the ballot next year as a provisional amendment to the state constitution, which would put the decision in the hands of Texas voters. Another state representative is including the expansion in the state omnibus bill, giving lawmakers an opportunity to incorporate some compromises into the way that the expansion is enacted. In the event that no expansion is authorized by state lawmakers, it is not yet clear if any of the people who would be eligible under the federal guidelines would have access to Medicaid in some other way.
Source: Texas Tribune, “Texas Democrats See Path to Medicaid Expansion,” Becca Aaronson, Dec. 3, 2012.
Our Houston law firm helps Texas residents navigate the Medicaid system and incorporate Medicaid planning into their overall healthcare and estate plan. More information is available on our website.