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Texas to Deny Poor Residents Medicaid Coverage, While Paying for It Anyway

Texas lawmakers have passed a bill that would deny over a million low-income residents Medicaid coverage.
 
 
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State lawmakers in Texas have passed a bill that would deny over a million low-income residents Medicaid coverage they would have received as a result of President Obama’s healthcare plan.

The bill states that health officials can only provide medical assistance to those who would have been “otherwise eligible” under the criteria in effect December 31, 2013. The Affordable Care Act mandates that Medicaid be expanded starting in 2014. But the Supreme Court ruling on the act said that the federal government could not require states to expand the low-income health program.

Governor Rick Perry had stated his strident opposition to expanding Medicaid last summer.

If the bill becomes law, Texas will be contributing taxes that pays for the Medicaid expansion in other states while residents won’t be able to access the same program.

The Texas bill was passed despite the fact that “the federal government fully funds Medicaid expansion until 2016 and gradually reduces its contribution to 90 percent in 2020 and subsequent years,” as Think Progress’ Igor Volsky notes. Texas, which has the highest percentage of uninsured people, would not have to pay more than 7 percent of the cost of the Medicaid expansion.

The legislation was passed as state officials across the country continue to take varied steps on the issue of Medicaid expansion. In Arizona, Republican governor Jan Brewer has said she will continue to veto bills passed by the Republican legislature until they expand Medicaid. Other Republican governors have taken steps similar to Perry’s.

 

Alex Kane is AlterNet's New York-based World editor, and an assistant editor for Mondoweiss. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

 
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