Texas recently became the highest populated state to reject two key provisions of President Obama’s healthcare reform law.
Another important fact about Texas: It’s the state with the highest percentage of uninsured people in the U.S.
In Texas, 24.6% of citizens are without health insurance.
California has more people without insurance, but a lower percentage.
The two provisions Texas has rejected:
- Setting up a state-run health insurance exchange designed to help citizens find affordable coverage, and
- The expansion of Medicaid designed to provide more coverage to the poor.
5 other states have opted out
Texas has joined other Republican-governed states of Florida, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Mississippi and Louisiana in rejecting the two provisions.
Texas Governor Rick Perry, whose recent bid for the Republican presidential nomination flatlined, said neither a state exchange nor the expansion of Medicaid would result in better protection or more affordable care, reported Reuters.
While every state is required to have its own insurance exchange, they’re not required to set them up themselves. The healthcare law says that if states don’t do the work to create them, the feds will. The law requires the exchanges to be up and running in every state by 2014.
States are also allowed to opt out of expanding Medicaid. The proposed expansion would broaden eligibility requirements, allowing an estimated 16 million more people to receive coverage. But many states, namely Florida, said the expansion would be too expensive for them to take on — even if the Federal government was willing to cover most of the bill.
In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Perry called the two provisions a power grab by the federal government.
Louisiana and Wisconsin were the first to states to opt out of the provisions, and they wasted no time in doing so. Immediately after the Supreme Court upheld the reform law as constitutional, the two states announced their rejection of the provisions.