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Government/Politics

Fully Aware Of The Uphill Task, Texas Business Leaders Plan To Push For An Expansion of Medicaid

A leading nonprofit representing employers from all across the state says it will be pushing for an expansion of Medicaid during the 2015 legislative session. The Texas Association of Business says the cost of healthcare for Texas employers is going up, and this is related to the state’s high level of an uninsured working population.

During the previous legislative session in 2013, there was very little doubt where a majority of state lawmakers and Gov. Rick Perry stood on the issue of the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid services. That meant 25 percent of the Texas population continued without coverage.

Bill Hammond, the executive director of the Texas Association of Business, says the failure to expand services is hurting Texas businesses by raising property taxes and increasing the overall cost of insurance plans for companies.

“You know, there is a lot of costs that are being borne by those who pay for health insurance, their costs are going up because of the high percentage of the uninsured, we’d like to see the legislature step up and take the money under an insurance model,” said Hammond.

And given the political climate coming into the session, with a larger group of Tea Party Republicans in both the House and Senate, who are cautious and somewhat opposed to the idea, Hammond says getting a Medicaid Expansion bill passed will be an uphill climb.

“It’s just going to take a massive effort on the part of all Texans, hospitals and every interested party to let the legislature know this makes sense for Texas.”, Hammond said.

Hammond says their members would like to see lawmakers adopt a private-insurance model similar to what was done in Arkansas, where the State is able to impose co-pays and sliding scales.