Gov. Rick Perry today sent a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and the Texas Congressional Delegation outlining his concerns about the impact on Texas taxpayers and the state budget of federal government-run health care bills currently under consideration by Congress. The committee began consideration of Chairman Baucus' proposed bill and amendments this week.
"Instead of government mandates and more deficit spending, successful health care reforms can be achieved only by providing states the flexibility to develop state-specific solutions," Gov. Perry said. "I urge you to support our right, as a state, to further explore these approaches, rather than forcing us to implement federal mandates that promise financial hardships for the states and little in the way of benefits for our economy and all of our constituents."
According to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the federal health care proposals could add up to $60 billion to the state budget over the next 10 years, creating twice the number of Texas Medicaid recipients. The bills also place a new tax burden on certain businesses, and provide for the federal takeover of some current state insurance functions.
The governor also reiterated his request to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for approval of the Texas Medicaid reform waiver, which was originally submitted in April 2008. This waiver, which would enable more low-income working Texans to purchase private health insurance, promote preventive care, and improve quality and access to care, is stalled at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.