Texans have much at stake in the Washington healthcare debate, and it involves more than your premiums.
Let’s talk about your taxes. If Medicaid care for low-income Texans is cut, the cost of operating John Peter Smith Hospital and other public hospitals will go up.
Texas hospitals will lose $3 billion in operating revenue under the U.S. House’s American Health Care Act, and potentially more under the U.S. Senate version awaiting debate, according to an analysis by the New York-based Commonwealth Fund foundation.
Any cuts in Medicaid have a powerful effect at safety-net hospitals like JPS. Decisions that seem thrifty in Washington will only leave Tarrant County taxpayers covering more of the bill for indigent care.
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Texas hospitals also face losing another $6 billion in Medicaid reimbursements under an agreement expiring in December. (Texas was always expected to pick up the cost beginning in 2018 under the Affordable Care Act, “Obamacare,” but the federal government has extended the deadline for some other states.)
Texas would not be hit as hard as states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA. But any cuts remain serious, particularly for public hospitals and for the 4.7 million low-income Texans depending on Medicaid.