Anne Dunkelberg
Robert Restuccia
By Anne Dunkelberg and Robert Restuccia
Texans count on Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) every day. That’s why we need straight answers from elected officials about proposals to gut Medicaid and CHIP.

When our parents can’t live on their own, it’s Medicaid that provides help to keep them at home, or in nursing home care when home care isn’t enough. When our neighbors living with disabilities need wheelchairs, prosthetics and basic supports to stay independent, Medicaid allows them to continue contributing to our communities. And when parents can’t afford private health insurance or lose their jobs, Texas Medicaid and CHIP protect their kids from becoming uninsured by providing the preventive care they need to stay healthy and letting them see a doctor when they get sick or injured.

Medicaid’s federal and state partnership also protects Texas jobs. Clinics, doctors’ offices, hospitals and other health care businesses count on Medicaid for a dependable source of revenue that supports local jobs.

But Congress is considering proposals that put our families, friends, neighbors and local jobs at risk. Making Medicaid a fixed pot of money that doesn’t grow with need -- commonly referred to as a block grant -- or imposing an unrealistic health care spending cap would set arbitrary limits on federal Medicaid investments.

These proposals do nothing to bring down health care costs. Instead, they just shift costs from the federal government to states, and then on to taxpayers, families and charities. They leave states few choices. States can cut off coverage and make kids, seniors, families and people with disabilities uninsured, which is proven to raise premiums for everyone who has insurance and drives up costs when the uninsured are forced to seek expensive emergency room care.

They can cut payments to doctors’ offices, hospitals and nursing homes, but this puts care and jobs at risk. Congress shifting costs to states is just like an employer shifting more of the premium to the worker. Neither really reforms health care costs, they only push the costs to someone else. Either way, we pay.

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