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July 9, 2012

Perry's Refusal to Expand Medicaid May Provide Opportunity to Fix Broken System


DALLAS, TX: Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s refusal to expand Medicaid in the Lone Star State could be an opportunity to set a new paradigm in Medicaid, says Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI) resident scholar Dr. Merrill Matthews.

“The Obama administration boasts that the new law will expand access to health care to millions of low-income Americans," said Matthews. "But the administration refuses to realize that having health coverage is vastly different from having access to health care."

Matthews pointed to a new survey by the Texas Medical Association that says, since 2010, the percentage of Texas doctors accepting new Medicaid patients has dropped from 42 percent to a mere 31 percent. In 2000, 67 percent of Texas doctors were accepting new Medicaid patients.

Millions of Texans have Medicaid coverage; this survey demonstrates that many of them can’t see a doctor,” said Matthews. “ObamaCare expands Medicaid but does nothing to fix its problems. Why expand a broken system?"

Matthews acknowledges that Texas will lose money if the state opts out of the Medicaid expansion. "But the more insidious problem is that the federal government is taking Texans' tax money but won't let the state have it back unless it follows Washington's heavy-handed micro-management of health care."

"The best possible solution is if several states take a stand against this federal overreach and demand that Washington give the states what they have wanted for years: more flexibility to manage their Medicaid and uninsured populations," concluded Matthews.

"Washington is offering to give us back our tax money, but only if the state does things the ObamaCare way.  If enough states push back, maybe they can get the flexibility to try and actually fix the broken Medicaid system."


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