The news keeps getting better

Posted in Around The State, Bad Government Republicans, Had Enough Yet?, Health Care at 3:38 pm by wcnews

While it’s starting to become obvious that many of the inflated,and false, claims the regressives, (see below), made about the Affordable Care Act, they’re still trying to go negative. Case in point, Texas slashes estimate of state’s ObamaCare tab.

Suehs testified to a House budget panel that he agrees with Perry that Texas shouldn’t opt into the federal law’s expansion of Medicaid to include childless adults until after the state-federal program’s problems are fixed.

If Texas opts in, the extra $15.6 billion in state spending through 2023 would draw down $100.1 billion in additional federal dollars, Suehs said

Not the $27 billion Suehs once thought. (Here’s the link from 2010 on Suehs prior inflated projection. It does look like he’s just trying to make things right before he’s out the door.) Of course, why we should care, or trust what Suehs says anymore is beyond comprehension.

What’s being lost in this discussion is what a good deal this is for Texas. If we will spend $15.6 billion over the next 10 years and get $100.1 billion back from the federal government. And insure almost two million uninsured Texans at a cost of $1.56 billion per year to taxpayers. (If my calculations are correct that around $800/per person, per year.) That may be the best economic development money this state has spent in decades.

Of course the wing nuts will freak out, because some wealthy people may have to pay more in taxes, but it’s better than the cruel alternative.

Further Reading:
New Texas estimate for health care reform is $11 billion cheaper.
And another blast from the past, Feds, State Disagree on Cost of Health Reform.

HHSC Commissioner Tom Suehsestimates that health care reform’s top-dollar items — Medicaid expansion to roughly 2.1 million Texans, plus heightened reimbursement rates for primary care physicians — will cost the state more than $27 billion between 2014 and 2024, up $3 billion from his most recent estimate.

But the Congressional Budget Office’s numbers are far different. Between 2010 and 2019, the agency estimates, the reform will cost Texas $1.4 billion. A letter written last month by U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, notes that Texas’ estimate is more than the $20 billion the reform is expected to cost all state governments combined in the next decade.

“I don’t know where he went to school and got his math education. But it’s not right,” Suehs said of Waxman, speaking at a joint hearing of the Senate Health and Human Services and State Affairs committees. (The answer? UCLA.) “I can’t rationalize the CBO’s budget numbers when I know that I’ve got a higher population of uninsured than most states have total population.”

Some lawmakers said they’d understand a small cost differential, but that this difference looks enormous. “Glaring,” state Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, called it. And they said that whatever the final cost is, it’s clear it will take a major bite out of Texas’ bottom line.


Suehs said the most obvious discrepancy between the state and federal numbers is that the federal estimate doesn’t include administrative costs. It also starts immediately, while the state estimate doesn’t begin until 2014. In the first three years of the reform program, the costs to the state are expected to be minimal, and Suehs said he wanted to give lawmakers a fleshed-out 10-year view.

“I felt I had an obligation to give a long-range [view] to the Legislature,” he said. “You need to have strategies for how you finance, how you fund it.”

But some Democratic lawmakers questioned that approach — particularly in light of staunch Republican opposition to the reform. “I don’t know of any time where I’ve had the financial years start out in 2014 and go out to 2023,” El Paso state Sen. Eliot Shapleighsaid skeptically. “We’re being presented with a sticker-shock number.”

Suehs took issue with that, and he vowed that the federal estimate will continue to rise. “In my 35 years of doing budget work, there’s never been a group of cost estimates that have had more cost analysis than our efforts on this reform bill,” he said.

Oops, as they say.

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