Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Hurts All Texans

I agree with the the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s editorial that if state officials decline federal Medicaid funding it will cause taxpayers greater burdens with less benefits for the poor. The audience for this newspaper tends to be Republican Texans who might agree with Gov. Rick Perry’s theatrical response to the impending expansions of Medicaid due to Obamacare. This editorial reasonably approaches the subject with an understanding that many of the paper’s readers might disagree with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The editorial explains that Texans’ tax money will go toward the Medicaid expansion to cover more uninsured people regardless of Texas officials opting in or out. It goes on to spell out the fact that if Texas opts out of the expansion then the state will lose out on a large chunk of federal funding and the opportunity to cut down on taxpayer expenses to cover uninsured people’s emergency room visits. I think this is a smart way to communicate the cons of Perry’s plan to readers without alienating them. 
The editorial argues that Perry is merely playing politics in order to appear staunchly conservative, which will ultimately hurt the state and the people who live here–insured or uninsured. The argument relies on the assumption that if state legislators side with Perry then they are more concerned about making a political statement than making the best economical and socially responsible decision. I think the editorial is right to imply this and to focus on the inevitable effects. The values reflected in this piece are that the state government should do what’s best for all Texans. The Telegram provides the funding amounts to support the argument, saying “the federal government would provide $76.3 billion in the first five years, compared with state-provided share of about $6 billion.” This shows that Texas could miss out on a comparatively huge chunk of federal funds, but Texans will still have to pay taxes that will help uninsured people outside of Texas. This editorial convinces me that Perry is more concerned with politics than with the wellbeing of Texans and that it would be foolish to opt out of expanded benefits from a program that state taxpayers are already invested in.  

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