Medicaid expansion battle a stalemate

Gov. Perry says nothing has changed

Author: Charles Gonzalez, Reporter, Anchor, cgonzalez@ksat.com
Published On: Apr 01 2013 07:00:33 PM CDT   Updated On: Apr 01 2013 07:00:59 PM CDT
AUSTIN, Texas -

Democrats and Republicans held a pair of press conferences in Austin to argue their cases regarding Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Health Care Act. 

Neither press conference offered changes in either party’s stance on the issue. 

Gov. Rick Perry, flanked by Republican Texas Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, again said Texas will not agree to the Medicaid expansion under the so-called Obamacare plan.

“It’s a prescription for failure and Texas will not be part of it,” said Perry. 

”Medicaid needs fundamental reform,” added Cruz. “It needs to give the states the flexibility to meet the needs of the most vulnerable among us.”

Republicans are pushing for a block grant from the government, a lump sum amount that the state can decide how to spend. 

Perry has said the grant would allow Texas to subsidize health spending accounts in addition to other changes. 

Democrats followed with an afternoon press conference outside of the Texas House of Representatives’ chambers. 

Lead by U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-20, of Texas, they called for Perry to make the “morally and economically right” decision.

“There are many working Texans who go to work every day and want the best for themselves and their family members who can’t afford health insurance and the Governor is holding up that health insurance for them,” said Castro.

Three Austin residents, who have either benefited from or tried to enroll in Medicaid, also spoke at the afternoon press conference. 

Joining Castro was his brother, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, who said expansion would cover 200,000 of the 396,000 Bexar county residents who are currently uninsured. 

“As mayor, I see tens of millions of dollars in owed ambulance fees because people who end up using the emergency room as their primary care physician do so as a last ditch attempt to get healthy,” said Julian Castro.  “This is no longer a Democratic issue or Republican issue.  This is about providing health care insurance so more of our Texas families can be healthy.”

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