Sebelius to Texas: What’s a Little Eternal Damnation Worth in Today’s Dollars?

July 23, 2013

Politics in TX

“You can keep your independence.  Promise!”

It would really be a lot easier to turn Texas blue if the Feds had more of a say in how things were done around here.  Isn’t it shame then, that Rick Perry et al, are so stubbornly resisting Kathleen Sebelius’s womanly charms?  In a trip to Dallas yesterday, she called for Texas to reconsider its position, appealing to Perry’s strong business sense, talking ROI.  Oh, my! How can he say no, given her capacity for sweet talk?

Texas has been a leader in resisting the federal government’s advances, admonitions, and pleas for Medicaid expansion, but as the most populous state after California and amidst all of ObamaCare’s implementation struggles, the Obama administration would really appreciate it if Texas would please just do them a solid and abandon their so very heartless and stubborn crusade of big-government defiance:

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today held out hope that Texas would reconsider its decision not to expand its Medicaid program.

“We are still hopeful that the decision about Medicaid can continue to be looked at because the return on investment for Texas is huge — about $90 billion in federal money that could come into the state to help some of the poorest uninsured Texans take advantage of coverage,” she said in an interview.

“We’re building that kind of partnership in cities across this country so that they will be the ones to carry the information to their communities —- here’s what can happen, here’s what kind of help is available. That’s the way to drill through the noise about the back and forth political information and get real information to people on the ground.

Bring me the calculator, quick! Now, tell me, how does one calculate actual investment beyond the “modest” taxpayer funding requirement?

Is there a calculator app for something like this?

In order to solve the equation, what’s eternal damnation worth in today’s dollars?

Nevertheless, there are plenty of Faustian bargainers willing to commit Texas into taking the deal:

The economic advantages of participating in Medicaid expansion are profound, according to a study by the Perryman Group, a Waco-based economic and financial analysis firm. While the cost to the state general fund of making almost 1.5 million more residents eligible for Medicaid is estimated at $1.3 billion through fiscal year 2017, Texas would be eligible for an estimated $24 billion under Medicaid expansion, according to the study.

The federal government would pay 100 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion from 2014 to 2016 then ratchet its share down gradually to 90 percent by 2020, where it would level off going forward, according to the Perryman Group.

It means that for every $1 the state pays for Medicaid, the federal government pays $9. Perryman estimates that during the first 10 years of the program (the current Medicaid program plus expansion) the federal government would increase payments to the Texas health care system by nearly $90 billion, while the state’s share would be $15.6 billion.

But wait!!  What happens after that 100% paid by the feds thing, when it starts to “level off”?   Is that when the kids and grandkids pick up the load to help “level” it off? 

I’m sure they won’t mind!

Plus, that little line about “getting real information to people on the ground”?  Ah, but of course, of course.  How stupid that I didn’t think of that before! That’s really what it’s all about, the easy flow of propaganda, back and forth from Texas to DC.

Stand Your Ground Texas, Faust is not a happy camper now.  And for that matter, neither is Detroit.

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