It’s no secret that health care reform is going to be expensive. The majority of changes don’t go into effect until 2014, but states are already estimating the cost to implement reforms. For Texas, that cost equals $27 billion over ten years, according to Health and Human Services Commission chief Tom Suehs.
Suehs told lawmakers that part of the price tag goes toward adding about 2.1 million Texans to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and about $5.5 billion will be allocated to paying doctors and other primary care providers more, so they’ll see these patients. “We’ve got to make sure we have the physician community out there that’s willing to participate in Medicaid,” said Suehs.
Texas Senator Bob Deuell, a physician by trade, applauded Suehs’ emphasis on making sure doctors participate in Medicaid and CHIP. “Having insurance doesn’t mean you have access to health care,” said Deuell.
But Democrats have balked at the $27 billion figure, calling the number “sticker shock” and an unrealistic overestimation of future costs. Regardless of the final price tag, ObamaCare is going to cost Texas vast sums of money. Citizens should expect to pay higher taxes to pay for impending reforms, as well as higher Texas health insurance premiums, as insurers look to offset the steep costs associated with covering a larger network of individuals.
All we can do now is take steps to prepare for the looming changes and cross our fingers that the benefits of health care reform might outweigh the financial burden being placed on states and citizens alike.
For more on this story, see The Dallas Morning News report.