New Report by Former Deputy Comptroller of Texas Billy Hamilton Shines Light on Need for Medicaid Expansion in State
Report commissioned by Methodist Healthcare Ministries shows why expansion is smart, affordable and fair.
San Antonio, Texas – The debate brewing in Austin whether the state of Texas will expand its Medicaid program, a key component of the Affordable Care Act, has reached a fever-pitch as a new report commissioned by Methodist Healthcare Ministries (MHM) of South Texas, Inc. and authored by the former Texas Deputy Comptroller, Billy Hamilton laid out in no uncertain terms why expanding the program to low-income adults is smart, affordable and fair.
In the report titled, “Expanding Medicaid in Texas: Smart, Affordable and Fair" Hamilton provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the costs and benefits to local tax authorities (including counties, cities and hospital districts) and state government if the legislature chooses to extend Medicaid benefits to low-income adults under the Affordable Care Act. The report includes county-level data and tables detailing regional breakouts of caseloads, spending and fiscal impacts for each of the state’s 20 Regional Health Partnerships—multi-county regions coordinating healthcare spending and delivery under Texas’ new federal Medicaid Transformation Waiver.
Using data from the 2012, MHM-commissioned research by Dr. Michael E. Cline and Dr. Steve Murdock, “Estimates of the Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Counties in Texas,” and the same policy implementation scenarios, Hamilton concludes that by bringing low-income adults into the Medicaid program, the state can infuse new, much-needed funding into Texas’ healthcare delivery system. For example, under a moderate enrollment scenario, Texas could experience a $1.8 billion increase in taxes from new federal Medicaid funds from fiscal years 2014 to 2017.
According to MHM President & CEO, Kevin C. Moriarty, while the estimated financial impact from the expansion would provide a boon to local communities, the central issue is the access to care that families, who would otherwise go without, would become a reality. “Our primary concern in these matters is always creating access to care for the least served and most vulnerable in our communities,” explains Moriarty. “As a nonpartisan, faith-based organization, the tenets of our faith require us to look at this from a non-political perspective. When you strip away the rhetoric, and view this as a moral decision, the choice should become crystal clear,” continues Moriarty. “But, one has only to read the data in this report to also see that expanding Medicaid to low-income adults is also smart from a job-creation and revenue standpoint; affordable, given the resources local governments and healthcare systems are already spending on unfunded patients and what would be needed for the annual state match that is necessary for the expansion; and fair, given the tax relief this would provide to citizens whose dollars are already paying for hospital district taxes,” says Moriarty.
MHM owns and operates clinics in San Antonio, as well as offers behavioral health and counseling, health education, and family wellness programs. It also provides grants to agencies that offer healthcare services and program. This year the organization plans to spend $78.3 million to sustain the programs and services it offers, and to continue providing funding to nearly 75 agencies across South Texas that also offer services to the uninsured and underserved in their local communities. The organization anticipates nearly 800,000 individuals will be served from their efforts. “MHM is the largest private funding source for healthcare services in South Texas, and even with our resources and dedication to our mission, we are unable to meet the need that exists for healthcare services, particularly in rural areas where access is limited to none. We want to be a part of a solution, to do what our faith asks us to do, but we can’t do it alone,” states Moriarty. “There is a tremendous opportunity before our legislature to come up with a solution to a problem that has real, life-and-death consequences for people—a problem for which the solution has so many additional benefits beyond the relief it will give to so many uninsured individuals. I believe it would be immoral for our state not to take action on something that we can, and should do for our citizens.”
At present, there are 17 states and the District of Columbia that plan to expand their Medicaid program to low-income adults—including Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.
“I would like to think that the leadership in our great state can put aside political ideology to do what is right by the people they are elected to serve. It boggles the mind, that our Governor and others who are in the unique position to positively influence so many lives—potentially up to 4 million people —
would reject an opportunity to do what I am sure their own faiths—no matter the denomination—would call upon them to do,” laments Moriarty.
The full report prepared by Billy Hamilton Consulting for Methodist Healthcare Ministries and Texas Impact can be downloaded by visiting www.mhm.org. The “Estimates of the Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Counties in Texas” report prepared by Dr. Michael E. Cline and Dr. Steve Murdock are also available on the MHM website.
About Methodist Healthcare Ministries (MHM) of South Texas, Inc.
Methodist Healthcare Ministries (MHM) is a private, faith-based, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing medical and health-related human services to low-income families and the uninsured in South Texas. The mission of the organization is “Serving Humanity to Honor God,” by improving the physical, mental and spiritual health of those least served in the Southwest Texas Conference area of The United Methodist Church. To learn more about MHM, please visit www.mhm.org.