Deputy Director For Texas Research Institute: Medicaid Expansion Would Be Huge Boon To State Economy

The deputy director for Progress Texas and the Texas Research Institute has penned an editorial for Texas Monthly declaring that expanding Medicaid would be a boon to the state economy and help Gov. Greg Abbott achieve his goal of surpassing his predecessor’s history of job creation.

Phillip Martin wrote the piece in response to an opposing editorial the monthly magazine published in January. That one was written by John Daniel Davidson, the director of the Center for Health Care Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Davidson argued that Texas would actually lose jobs if Medicaid was expanded.

Martin breaks that argument down:

 Their information is based on a flawed study from a center-right group, the American Action Forum.

The study is anchored in the assumption that more people enrolled in coverage increases the premiums everyone pays, thus stifling economic opportunities. The study Davidson cites reflects a long-existing argument TPPF has made itself in the past – that “the federal deficit is going to absorb most of the increase in insurance costs,” a problem TPPF argued “is perhaps the single most crucial fact about the entire law.”

Fortunately for Texans, though unfortunately for TPPF, that’s not the case. First, the U.S. deficit is shrinking. As a percentage of GDP, the deficit is at its lowest point since President Reagan, and long-term debt is primarily driven by Bush-era tax cuts, not any laws passed by President Obama. Finally, premiums are growing at a much, much slower rate than before ACA went into effect. Here in Texas, 85% of those who bought health insurance through the exchange used a subsidy to lower the costs. As a result, their average premium was $72-per-month after a 76% discount provided by the subsidies – which was “the seventh lowest out of the 36 states” utilizing the federal exchange.

He then goes on to note the business support necessary to push Medicaid expansion, or an alternative, through the legislature. He also discusses the huge group of 1 million or so working poor that would be covered if the state could access the federal dollars. Read the whole thing here.

Posted in News, Public Health.