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Obamacare: Still working

Down doobie doo down down

It's constitutional - deal with it

It’s constitutional – deal with it

Texas’ rate of uninsured people fell to 17.1 percent in 2015 as part of a steady decline in the share of uninsured residents following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to new Census estimates released Tuesday.

The state’s rate of uninsured fell two percentage points from 2014 to 2015, but Texas still has the highest percentage of people without health insurance in the country. Texas is also home to the largest number of uninsured people in the country with about 4.6 million uninsured residents.

About 5 million Texans were uninsured in 2014, or 19 percent. That’s down from 5.75 million the year before. The 2014 rate — part of the first comprehensive Census data to include a full year of enrollment under President Obama’s signature health law — marked the first time Texas’ uninsured rate fell below 20 percent in more than a decade.

Advocates for the uninsured have argued that Texas could grant insurance coverage to more than 800,000 adults living in poverty here if the state were to expand Medicaid — an optional tenet of the federal health law. But the state’s Republican leadership remains vehemently opposed to any sort of expansion. They’ve criticized Medicaid, the federal-state insurer for the poor and disabled, as an inefficient and broken program.

Also, too:

The number of Americans without health insurance declined to 9.1 percent last year, according to federal data released Tuesday. A set of maps released by the Census Bureau suggests an obvious way to decrease the uninsured rate even more: expand Medicaid in the 19 states that haven’t.

[…]

The report notes that the uninsurance rate decreased among poor people in both kinds of states. The drops in the uninsured rate were bigger for people who made below the poverty level or up to 399 percent of the poverty level in states that expanded Medicaid. Not all the uninsured in each state would qualify for insurance, but a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis, based on last year’s data, found that 19 percent of the population of those states that haven’t expanded Medicaid — close to 3 million people — fell in the coverage gap and would be eligible if Medicaid were expanded.

If it seems like I post this same basic story – with slightly different numbers – every few months, it’s because I do. That’s because the uninsurance rate continues to decline, and the lack of Medicaid expansion is the main reason why it hasn’t declined further than it has. Some 800,000 more Texans could have access to health care if we expanded Medicaid, and that would bring along a long list of other benefits as well. But we haven’t and we won’t, at least not with our current leadership, because they just don’t care about these people. So I’ll keep repeating myself, if only to serve as an ongoing reminder of this.

Oh, and one last thing:

A federal judge faulted the state Medicaid program in a strongly worded order, ruling the program had improperly denied 2,000 out-of-network emergency claims submitted by a nonprofit health care provider that treated indigent children.

U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison ruled last week that the state had failed its obligation to reimburse out-of-network services under the Medicaid Act.

“Without intervention from the Court, the State will continue to refuse to reimburse Legacy for such services,” he wrote.

In May, Ellison found the state had unlawfully handed off in-network reimbursement duties to a managed care organization. The latest ruling came on the second set of arguments by Legacy Health.

Maybe the reason our state leaders hate Medicaid so much is because they’re so lousy at it.

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6 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    Instead of expanding Medicaid, how about we start deporting illegals who create anchor babies that will drain the Medicaid system. Why is it we think importing poverty is a good thing? There’s enough native poverty here already without welcoming more government dependents.

  2. Ross says:

    Obamacare isn’t working, if the complaints I am seeing about costs going up in huge increments, and the lack of plans that include doctors people are willing to use are any indication. Sure, more people are “insured”, but the benefits are crap and the available doctors are crap. This applies to people who have to buy their own insurance. Those of us on employer plans are still doing OK, and still get to go to Methodist and MD Anderson, rather than Quacks R Us.

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    I agree with Ross. Sure more people have insurance, but the premiums and deductibles have skyrocketed so that lots of folks have to choose between paying full freight for the multi-thousand dollar deductible and paying the light bill. At least those previously uninsured folks knew up front they would be paying full freight for their medical care, and didn’t drop big bucks on insurance…..a plan that works out OK as long as nothing catastrophic happens.

    Of course, our freeloading Medicaid folks don’t have to worry about that at all. They just stroll right in, show their “Gold Card” and have zero worry about the bill. Nice. Nothing but the best for them.

  4. Bill Daniels says:

    Edit: of course, if your goal is to make medical care unaffordable for pretty much everybody and the end goal is single payer socialized government medicine, then the plan seems to be working perfectly and everything is fine. Put the squeeze on people long and hard enough and they will embrace single payer health insurance.

  5. Mainstream says:

    The Economist this week reports that the tax benefit to employers to provide health care plans to their employees costs us taxpayers $250 billion annually, so it is not only the Gold Card holder who is getting government support for his healthcare.

  6. Bill Daniels says:

    @Mainstream:

    You have highlighted yet another unfair tax policy, and I agree with your sentiment precisely because it isn’t fair. However, there is a fundamental difference between allowing people to keep their own money (or insurance coverage, in this case) that they have worked for, and taking the money others have worked for and giving it to people who did NOT work for it.