It’s not news that many conservative Republicans in Texas have lobbied and fought against the expansion of Medicaid in Texas. What is news is the coordinated attack that preceded that fight.
New documents—obtained by The Guardian and shared with the Texas Observer—show how the right-wing think tank Texas Public Policy Foundation and another conservative group, the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute, combined their attacks with a nationwide network of conservative organizations and funders. The documents contain 40 funding proposals from 34 states; the proposals were to be funded by the Searle Freedom Trust, a private foundation.
From the Observer:
The documents include a TPPF grant request to Searle to fund continuing attacks on Medicaid. In its application, TPPF claims credit for blocking Medicaid expansion in Texas and promises to push for looser federal requirements, including a block-grant approach that Gov. Perry has long sought that could result in tighter restrictions and fewer people covered by the government insurance program.
“[S]topping Medicaid expansion is just the first step,” TPPF’s application to Searle states. The “missing piece to complete our message is an economic forecast” showing how block-granting Medicaid would “bring significant savings” to the state.
The documents also show that TPPF and its backers view the research the group conducts as a tool to prod lawmakers into action and to inject conservative ideas into the mainstream. In 2012, Searle gave TPPF $30,000 to produce two Medicaid reports that “served as the intellectual foundation for meetings with Governor Perry, US Senators and Representatives,” the document states. (The list of donors obtained by the Observer last year shows that the Searle Freedom Trust donated $95,000 to the foundation in 2010.)
In its request for funding, TPPF repeatedly claims that its research on Medicaid translated into concrete political action. “TPPF met repeatedly with Governor Perry’s staff and key state lawmakers to ensure that Texas pursues Medicaid reform and refuses expansion. We also organized a high-profile press conference with state leadership to assert our resolve.”