Texas Republicans want to take away your health care, before you even get it

Posted in Around The Nation, Around The State, Commentary, Health Care, Right Wing Lies at 10:24 am by wcnews

While the GOP is running around on an R&R adventure, the rest of us need to to get busy making sure that those who need health care in Texas get what they’ve been lacking for so long. Here’s how Dog Canyon put it, Health Care Reform: It’s Out Turn, Texas!

Now that the Health Care Reform bill has been signed into law, it’s time for us to get busy advocating for state reform allowing for aspects of the federal bill to be implemented in Texas before 2014.

The federal bill includes Medicaid expansion, which will create coverage for 16 million people by 2019. This expansion signifies a radical conceptual shift from the current Medicaid system. In the current system, it’s not enough to be flat broke to receive Medicaid healthcare coverage. You have to be “broke plus” (i.e. broke plus pregnant, broke plus disabled, etc). This current system is based on the idea that only the “worthy poor” deserve health insurance. But beginning in 2014, there will be a mandatory “catch-all” category for everyone* who earns up to 133% of Federal Poverty Limits.

However, states have the option to implement a State Plan Amendment (SPA) that allows states to start buying these low income people into Medicaid earlier than 2014. Texas could potentially phase this plan in using a “lower income first” model. For example, depending on our budget, we could start with coverage for people who are at 75% or 100% of Federal Poverty Limits. In doing so, Texas would receive federal match money to cover people who wouldn’t ordinarily be covered.

Yesterday former New York Gov. George Pataki was joined by many GOP representatives in Texas, who’ve been neglecting this issue for years, to say they are against allowing Texas to participate in the benefits of the new health care legislation. They would rather 6 million Texans, many of them children, continue without health care. They would like insurance corporations to still be able to take away your insurance (aka rescission), that you’ve paid for for years, just because you get sick, or deny you flat out because of a so-called “pre-existing condition”. I agree 100% with state Rep. Garnet Coleman’s statement [.pdf] from yesterday:

“Conservative Republicans think opposition to this legislation is a political advantage to them, but they don’t yet realize that they are both on the wrong side of Texans’ healthcare needs and of history.

This legislation will have a highly positive impact on our state, greatly improving the health insurance policies of Texans and bringing millions of uninsured citizens into coverage. It reflects a change in the way we as a country approach healthcare - shifting away from a focus on treatment and disease and towards preventive approaches that ensure the health and long and productive life of all Americans.

There has been a lot of discussion about bending the cost curve, but it’s also important to note the historic impact on our country. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. Healthcare for Americans bends that arc closer than it’s been in a generation. That’s something that can’t be scored by budget analysts, but generations to come will benefit from its impact.”

BOR has two posts on this from yesterday. One includes video of Pataki and Coleman on a local Austin morning show, Republican George Pataki Agrees That Major Provisions of Health Care Reform Are Good.

Garnet Coleman: This bill stops the prevention of people having health care coverage for their preexisting conditions. And clearly Texas benefits, because we get $190 billion over the next ten years. Our costs within the 10-year period of the authorization of the bill is $1.5 billion, and less than $13 billion in the next ten years after the Medicaid expansions start in 2014. So this is a good bill for Texas and a good bill for America.

Clearly, if you are a parent and you have children, your children can stay on until your own health coverage until they are 26 years old, and many families like that. And the other pieces that are extremely important are that people will have an opportunity to have insurance that have never have, and that’s clearly a benefit. Plus, there’s something called recision, where people are working, they have health insurance at their company, and all of a sudden they are kicked off their health insurance only because they have an illness that supposedly costs more money than the employer or the insurance company is willing to bear, and that’s just not right.

Interviewer: Governor, let me ask you — is it not fair to say get the bill through and tweak it as they go, the basic provisions seem to be sound?

George Pataki: No, the basic provisions are not sound. The Representative just very eloquently laid out three very good provisions in this bill, and that’s why we’re saying repeal it and replace it with real health care reform. Pre-existing conditions should be dealt with — you are correct about that. The ability of an insurance company to just drop someone because they might all of a sudden become expensive is wrong — that should be contained in health care. Having children stay on logner is a good provision that should be a part of health care reform as well.

In it Patatki also uses many of the lies and canards we’ve come to expect from the East Coast GOP elites. Not sure why Texas GOP members a pallin’ around with him?

Also from BOR there’s this report on several Grassroots Organizations Stand Up For Texans to Receive Health Reforms.

Let’s hear from the leaders of Texas organizations that are putting people ahead of insurance company profits (emphases mine):

“As with Social Security, Medicare and other advances in providing economic security for working families in America, the health care reform bill is historic in that it provides new coverage to millions of Texans and other Americans who had little likelihood of obtaining decent ongoing medical care.” — Becky Moeller, President, Texas AFL-CIO

“Seniors will benefit from the first steps to close the Medicare prescription doughnut hole, tax credits are available for small businesses to make coverage more affordable, and young adults can stay on their parent’s policy until they turn 26.” — Stacey Pogue, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Public Policy Priorities

“The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care law demonstrates that equal access to quality health care demands organized grassroots community involvement to ensure there is not a failure between health care policy-making and health and financial security for everyone.” — Juan Flores, Executive Director, La Fe Policy Research and Education Center

Grassroots organizing was essential in getting health care reform passed-and is even more important now to get the truth out about the benefits of this new, historic legislation.” — Mario Montelongo, Volunteer, Texas Organizing Project

Here’s a nice breakdown, Health Care Reform- What does it mean? [pdf], from La Fe Policy Research and Education Center. Republicans now stand firmly in favor of keeping 6 million uninsured Texans uninsured. They would rather rescission and pre-existing conditions continue to be the excessive profit making tools of insurance corporation bureaucrats. It’s immoral, it’s wrong, and Democrats should be pointing that out every day. And if Republicans in Texas want to run on that I say, go right ahead.

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