AUSTIN – The Texas Legislature should resist calls to expand the Medicaid program by extending the continuous eligibility period from six months to 12, the Texas Public Policy Foundation said today.
“Medicaid was intended to provide health care to our poorest citizens,” said Andrea Whitman, health care policy analyst at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “Having a six-month eligibility period ensures that those services are provided on a temporary basis to those citizens who are truly needy, and not as a long-term welfare program for those who are now financially able to pick up their own health care expenses.”
Whitman noted that the 12-month eligibility proposal – as contained in House Bill 1541 – would increase the number of Medicaid recipients by more than 250,000 and cost taxpayers almost $300 million in state funds over the next two years.
“Given recent forecasts of a sizable budget shortfall next session, the state needs to tighten its belt now and preserve as much cash as it can,” Whitman said. “Expanding Medicaid would be a double-whammy on next session’s budget – increasing the size of that budget hole while leaving us with fewer resources to fill it.”
“Medicaid costs every man, woman, and child in Texas more than $800 per year,” Whitman said. “Requiring recipients to apply every six months is not an unreasonable burden, given the value of the taxpayer-funded services they receive.”
Andrea Whitman is a health care policy analyst at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
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