According to the Dallas Morning News, from November through Dec. 5, the average daily number of Texans enrolling in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) shot up 22% compared with last year. That’s the largest gain of any state on the federal exchange and roughly twice the average increase for all states over the same period.
In the US, health care costs are the No. 1 cause of bankruptcy. People who can afford commercial health care plans, or have some kind of insurance provided by their employers, don’t worry about this as much. they only need to pay a copay whenever they visit the emergency room, but let’s keep in mind that on average, a visit to the ER will cost you around $2,000 US dollars.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was created with an overall goal in mind, to make healthcare more accessible for everyone by lowering costs for those who can’t afford them. As well as a host of other protections, the most notable of which is making sure insurance companies accept covering people with pre-existing conditions.
The idea behind making health insurance more accessible can be achieved by subsidizing the cost for those with lower income levels. The point is to extend Medicaid for people under the poverty level, regardless, Texas has been against it all along, and as of 2020, is one of only 12 states who limit access to its citizens.
Texas has the biggest coverage gap in the United States, and around 761,000 of its residents are both ineligible for Medicaid and also for premium subsidies to offset the cost of private coverage in the exchange. A study made by Texas A&M showed that expanding Medicaid in Texas could bring as much as $5.4 billion federal dollars into the state and enroll nearly 1 million more people in the federal safety-net insurance program. Around 1.2 million Texans would be covered if the state Legislature were to expand Medicaid eligibility to include low-income individuals who make 138 percent or less of the federal poverty line.
The subject is set to be discussed in the state’s next legislative session. Rep. Diego Bernal submitted House Bill 171, which aims to expand Medicaid eligibility. If the bill goes through, the state would also get an annual report about the effects of expanding eligibility for medical assistance, including the effects on uninsured Texans and on state and local health care costs.
Studies show that if more Texans were to enjoy health care coverage the economy would benefit greatly. Higher productivity associated with improved health outcomes leads to additional economic activity and other benefits. Additionally, the Perryman Group estimates that for every $1 of non-federal funds invested, $1.95 is returned to Texas in dynamic tax revenue; a win-win situation for both the state and the people.