Fiscal conservatism, baby.
Gov. Rick Perry’s rejection of Medicaid expansion will force private health insurance premiums to rise by an average of 9.3 percent for Texans buying coverage on their own, a new study finds.
GOP lawmakers, strongly encouraged by Perry, decided not to add poor adults to Medicaid’s rolls and that means about 1.3 million fewer Texans will have health coverage of some sort by 2016 than if the federal health law were fully carried out in the Lone Star State, according to a study by the nonprofit research organization RAND Corp..
About 320,000 adult Texans just above the poverty line will take advantage of Obamacare’s federal subsidies and buy coverage in the individual insurance market, the researchers found. Those are people who would have been enrolled in Medicaid, as the federal law was written and before that part of it was altered by a Supreme Court ruling. The RAND experts said that because low-income people generally are not as healthy as people with higher incomes, their inclusion in the private health insurance exchange — a second big piece of the law — will alter the claims experience of insurers serving the individual market. Currently, fewer than one in 20 Texans buys in that market, though it’s about to grow dramatically. Including the 320,000 low-income adults will force a 9.3-percent increase in premiums for all 3 million Texans who will be enrolled in the individual market by 2016, the RAND researchers said.
“When exchange subsidies become available to lower-income individuals, the average health of the exchange population declines slightly, and premiums increase,” they wrote.
Thanks, Governor Perry!