Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Key Texas Republican Admits Medicaid Pullout Will Leave People Homeless—What We Can Do To Fight This

Texas is facing a budget deficit of at least $ 18 billion.

Texas Republicans say pulling the state out of Medicaid is an option for the 2011 legislative session to address this deficit.

While some Republicans maintain the fiction this can be done without making people homeless, the chairman of the Texas House Appropriations Committee, Jim Pitts, at least tells the truth.

From the Houston Chronicle

“Some Republicans who talk about Texas potentially opting out of Medicaid are quick to say the changes wouldn’t throw people out on the street — but not House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts. Pitts didn’t advocate the change in health care for the poor at a meeting of the Ellis County Tea Party, just noted that it will be discussed by lawmakers. But unlike others who have painted a rosy picture of a potential health-care restructuring without filling in the details, Pitts gave a stark answer when an audience member asked about an ill friend who is on Medicaid. The questioner reacted with concern when Pitts said the state is looking at getting out of the program. What will my friend do then? Will you throw him out in the street? “If we did exactly what we’re doing today, we wouldn’t be throwing him out in the street. But if we have any savings in getting out of Medicaid, we will have to throw some people out in the street,” said Pitts, R-Waxahachie. He noted, “I’m not telling you that your friend would be.”

If pulling out of Medicaid takes place and when, as a consequence, people are out on the streets, who do you think will pay for that? The medical costs and likely police costs of such persons will be paid for by cities and counties.

As you see from the newspaper article above, even Tea Party followers are concerned that they and the people they know in life will be impacted by these cuts. (Though what did they ever expect?)

Texas has a so-called Rainy Day Fund that could help address this budget crisis. There is over $8 billion in this fund right now.

And let’s be clear, the reason this big deficit did not occur in the last legislative session in 2009 was because of federal stimulus money and money from other federal funds.

What can be done to prevent these types of deficits and these proposed radical solutions from taking place in the future?

Here are some ideas—

* We could have a tax structure that meets the needs of the second largest state in our federal union. An income tax would make a lot of sense.

* Texas Republicans holding public office  could truthful about the fact that we take plenty of federal money all the time, and Texas could work in partnership with the federal government instead refighting the Civil War.

* Rank and file Texas Republicans could acknowledge to themselves that they use public services all the time in daily life and that many Republicans in Texas use Medicaid program.

* Hispanics in Texas taken as whole could start to meet the personal responsibility of voting and of taking full part in the politics and the public policy debates of our state.

* Progressives in Texas could begin to really fight instead of being resigned to Republican rule. We are not meeting our obligations to Texas and to the nation.  Where is the organizing and the energy from our side that we saw from the Tea Party people in this last election?

* We could all understand that taxes are a necessity in life and that we have obligations to others in this world. Realizing these things in no way conflicts with the need to have a job and to meet your obligations to yourself and to your family.

* All Texans could decide that we want to live in a decent state where we do not toss people out on the street because they get sick.

(Fellow Houston & Texas blogger Charles Kuffner also addresses these issues. Also, Tea Party blogger David Jennings sees no value in Texas leaving Medicaid.)

November 29, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , ,

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