Texas lawmakers are exploring ways the state could provide more access to health care for 1.9 million uninsured poor people without acquiescing to guidelines set under the Affordable Care Act, sometimes referred to as Obamacare.
Texas physicians want to ensure all Texans have access to coverage and, more importantly, access to physicians and health care providers. According to the Institute of Medicine, even when uninsured patients have access to safety net services, the lack of health insurance results often results in delayed diagnoses and treatment of chronic diseases or injuries, needless suffering and even death. That’s why TMA supports allowing state leaders to work with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to develop a comprehensive solution that fits Texas’ unique health care needs. Several states have taken this step with some success, including Indiana, Arkansas, Iowa, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. TMA believes the Texas Legislature too can create an ingenious solution that works for the state and helps Texans in the coverage gap get affordable and timely care.
Any Texas-style solution expanding access must:Draw down all available federal dollars to expand access to health care for poor Texans;Give Texas the flexibility to change the plan as our needs and circumstances change;Clear away Medicaid’s financial, administrative, and regulatory hurdles that are driving up costs and driving Texas physicians away from the program;Relieve local Texas taxpayers and Texans with insurance from the unfair and unnecessary burden of paying the entire cost of caring for their uninsured neighbors;Provide Medicaid payments directly to physicians at least equal to those of Medicare payments; andContinue to uphold and improve due process of law for physicians in Texas as it relates to the Office of Inspector General.