Expanding Medicaid could make available at least $900 million in state money that otherwise would be slated for health care as lawmakers work to pay for Texas’ priorities, according to an analysis released Tuesday.
“More efficient health spending means there’s more money available for other needs like water and education,” said Bee Moorhead of Texas Impact, a faith-based advocacy group that commissioned the analysis with Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas Inc. Both groups support Medicaid expansion.
Moorhead said in a statement that moving people out of programs that are funded piecemeal with general revenue and into “prevention-focused managed care” would “give lawmakers more resources to tackle the other big issues on their plate this session.
The analysis was prepared by Billy Hamilton Consulting. Hamilton is a former longtime state deputy comptroller.
His analysis says that under starting-point legislative budget proposals, at least $1.2 billion in general revenue funds would be spent over the next two years on state programs serving people who would potentially be eligible for Medicaid. Additional federal funds under Medicaid expansion would take the place of that state money, according to the analysis.
Hamilton estimated that Medicaid expansion would require about $300 million in general revenue for state-paid administrative costs in Texas for the next two-year budget period. The Legislative Budget Board previously has cited a $50 million estimate for administrative costs over two years.
Using the higher figure for administrative costs, the groups said that would mean $900 million could be spent on as lawmakers would like – whether on health care or other programs – and it would not count against the state spending cap because it is considered current spending.
The Trib has a breakdown of the numbers. I’m not sure if this is a new report, a previously unpublicized section of the original report from January, or a summation of Hamilton’s testimony – there’s no obvious link on the Texas Impact webpage, and there’s no link or download in the Trib story. It’s also not clear how these numbers might change under an “Arkansas solution” scenario. Private insurance costs more than Medicaid, but the feds are picking up the full tab through 2015, which is the time period covered by this report, so it may not vary for the first two years. The point is that every way you look at it, this is the right thing to do, and the only rationale for opposition is ideology and a deep indifference to the suffering of others. Burka has more.