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Medicaid expansion debate heats up Texas senator

A provision in the new health care law known as Obamacare would expand the base of people who are eligible for Medicaid, result in crowding out of privately offered health insurance, and yield fewer health care options for low-income earners in the state of Texas. This is the philosophy of Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who is concerned that an increase in Medicaid eligibility will do more harm than good.

Proponents of the health care reform law largely support the Medicaid expansion, which would broaden the base of people who are eligible for Medicaid to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Others who oppose at least the Medicaid expansion section of the new health care reform legislation believe that a provision such as this will actually cause a large shift in numbers of people from privately carried, or employer-sponsored, health care insurance to the government-subsidized Medicaid program, which is at no cost to its participants. This crowding-out effect is of serious concern to some in the legislature as well as in the private insurance industry. Another concern expressed by Senator Cruz is that of the potential decline in the quality of health care services that will be available to the new Medicaid enrollees under this plan. Noting that there are many doctors and other health care providers in the state of Texas that do not accept Medicaid patients, Senator Cruz asserted that these individuals may find themselves suddenly shopping for a doctor against their wishes.

Regardless of what the future holds for health care and health care insurance in the United States, uncertainty about the situation is practically the only certain factor that can be counted upon. For this reason, it is very important that heads of households begin to plan for every possible contingency that may occur as a result of the passage of the health care reform legislation.

It is not too soon to begin the planning process, perhaps by discussing concerns with employers who may have already begun the process of determining health insurance offerings in 2014. Perhaps a family would be well served by choosing a high-deductible insurance plan that qualifies the insured to open a health savings account. The best plan is one that will bring no surprises for the new year and allow families to enjoy high-quality health care without worry. Residents of Texas who are concerned about their health care plans may wish to speak with attorneys who may explain how the coming changes to health care may affect them.

Source: "Does expanding Medicaid 'worsen health care options'? We take a second look," Louis Jacobson, April 11, 2013

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