THOMAS M. SUEHS
Date: June 28, 2012
Contact: Stephanie Goodman, 512-424-6951
HHSC Statement on Affordable Care Act Ruling
AUSTIN – Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Tom Suehs released the following statement after today’s Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act:
We’ll work closely with Gov. Perry, state leaders and the Attorney to fully analyze the ruling, but I’m pleased that it gives states more ability to push back against a forced expansion of Medicaid. The court clearly recognized that the Affordable Care Act put states in the no-win situation of losing all their Medicaid funding or expanding their programs knowing that they would face billions of dollars in extra costs down the road.
I remain concerned that expanding Medicaid without reforming it only multiplies the tremendous budget pressure the program puts on states. Medicaid already consumes a quarter of the state budget in Texas, and enrollment and costs would mushroom under the Affordable Care Act.
We’ll continue to work with the Legislature to improve the Texas Medicaid program so that it delivers better results at a lower cost. The reforms we’re putting into place through our new transformation waiver will replace an archaic federal Medicaid funding system with one built around local solutions that rewards hospitals for patient care and innovation. This will lay the foundation for true Medicaid reform in Texas and allow us to use existing funding to improve access to care. The best long-term solution is for Congress to grant states more flexibility to tailor solutions that best meet their needs.
The Texas Medicaid program covers 3.4 million Texans today, including children, pregnant women, people with disabilities and those over age 65. The Affordable Care Act would have required states to expand Medicaid coverage to other low-income adults. The expansion was scheduled to take place in January 2014. The Supreme Court ruled that the federal government cannot deny Medicaid funds to states that opt not to expand their programs.