President Obama went to Texas Wednesday to speak to a group of volunteers who have been helping people with the process of finding an appropriate health insurance policy through Obamacare. Texas is an apt place to visit to promote the law since they lead the country in uninsured with nearly 6.25 million living without health coverage.
Rick Perry continues to insist that the new law is a disaster and that Texans want no part of it, besides, he has a plan of his own and it is much better. Estimates are that under his ‘better’ plan an additional 2.5 million Texans will be without insurance, while under the ACA had he accepted Medicaid expansion, there would be fewer than 2.25 million uninsured. That is “better” Texas style — makes sense, in Texas everything is bigger (ask any Texan).
Perry and his supporters conveniently overlook the fact that, although the law has not yet become fully implemented, Texas has already reaped some major benefits from the parts that have been.
There are 81,000 young adults in the Houston area alone who now have coverage due to being able to remain on their parents policy until they are 26.
Again, in only the Houston area, 4,230 small businesses have benefited from tax credits to help defray the cost of providing health insurance for their employees and 552,000 seniors have received preventive care without any co-pays, they would not have otherwise had.
Interviewing representative Michael Burgess on MSNBC, Craig Melvin challenged the congressman to defend the refusal by Texas Republicans to accept the Medicaid expansion standing up to him and not allowing him to get away with double talk or spin.
When asked how he would respond to the President’s criticism that even with the problems on the website, a million Texans could be covered without a visit to the site if Texas had expanded Medicaid the congressman replied,
“Medicaid will continue to exist in Texas as it has, so for blind and disabled, certain pregnant women, that coverage does not change with or without the Affordable Care Act. 25% of the state budget now is spent on Medicaid I think governor Perry was wise in his decision to say ‘not so fast.'”
He attempts to stray off at that point but is interrupted by Melvin who says,
“Congressman before we get to that I want to go back to what you just said, because I think it’s important here, especially for our viewers who are watching and listening, to understand that there are six million people who don’t have insurance in Texas alone, and by expanding Medicaid in that state a million people will have a chance, and here’s the other part of this, folks in Texas who pay federal income taxes like they’re supposed to, they’re paying for this service anyway.”
Burgess insists that it is not rational to expand what he refers to as a broken program, claiming that Medicaid does not even pay enough to cover the cost the doctor incurs in the process of delivering the services. This argument, of course, ignores the fact that it costs very little to keep people healthy — what is really expensive is making them well after they have become ill.
He thinks it is a better idea to wait and see how it works in the other states who have expanded Medicaid, allowing more people to become ill and/or die before making the decision to move ahead. What it all boils down to is that like so many Republican politicians he really doesn’t care about poor people. In the GOP’s eyes, the poor don’t contribute to politicians, therefore they don’t count.
Watch the conversation in the video below.