Wendy Davis is asleep at the switch again. The Obama administration has opened a new front on the battle over Medicaid expansion. By 2016, says the White House, states that have adopted expansion will have saved $4.3 billion. In addition, expansion states would have experienced 3.3 million annual physicians’ visits, 176,000 more cholesterol screenings, 44,000 more mammograms, and 97,000 fewer people experiencing depression. This ought to be a heaven-sent opportunity for Davis to distinguish herself from Abbott. Expansion would have saved Texas $3.1B in 2014, $10.4B by 2017. And yet, the state’s Republican leaders are willing to allow their hatred for Barack Obama to get in the way of improving Texans’ health, not to mention providing billions of dollars for doctors and hospitals.
It is totally crazy for Texas to reject Medicaid expansion. It is equally crazy for Davis and the Democrats not to make the Republicans pay the price for ignoring the health of their consituents. There is no reason for rejecting it except to stick it to Obama. It costs the state a few hundred million dollars to accept expansion, mainly for administrative expenses. In a normal political environment (which Texas does not have), the chief executive of a state who rejected billions of federal dollars would be run out of town on a rail. The next question is, why isn’t Davis making an issue of this. Local governments would be on her side. The entire medical community would be on her side. The business community should be on her side. Rick Perry is history. He is destined to go down as one of the worst governors this state has ever had. And Greg Abbott? By his own admission his main interest as attorney general was in suing the federal government every day. The problem now is cowardice. No politician is willing to stand up and say that Texas should do Medicaid expansion.