The Affordable Care Act (ACA) celebrated its 12th anniversary this week, and Texas Democrats used the opportunity to talk about Medicaid expansion. And specifically, the fact that Texas hasn’t done it.
Texas is just one of 12 states that has not expanded Medicaid since the ACA was signed into law in 2010. Now 12years later, Texas leads the nation in the number of uninsured. New data from the U.S. Census Bureau clocks the percentage of uninsured Texans at 18.4 percent (about 5.4 million in the state).
If Texas were to expand Medicaid, a million Texans would immediately gain access to health insurance. At an event in Dallas earlier this week, both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Colin Allred talked about how such a move would bring down healthcare costs for all Texans.
Pelosi’s Texas tour also included a stop at a healthcare facility with medical students and residents from the Dell Medical School in Austin. She joined Rep. Lloyd Doggett for a discussion that also touched on the need for Texas to expand Medicaid.
In last year’s legislature, there were bills in the House and Senate to expand Medicaid, but both failed after receiving no support from almost every Republican. State Rep. Lyle Larson was the sole GOP vote. A bill to even study the impact of expanding Medicaid in the state (House Bill 1886) was even voted down in the last session (though Larson voted for that too).
With Larson retiring, it’s unclear if any incoming Republican in next year’s legislature will take up the bipartisan mantle of trying to pass Medicaid expansion. If current Republican primaries are a window into next year’s priorities, then the answer appears grim.