Bexar commissioners take up Medicaid resolution

Commissioners Court vote to support expansion for Texas


Bexar County commissioners are backing Medicaid expansion in Texas.

The commissioners voted on a resolution Wednesday showing their support for the money that states can receive as a part of the Affordable Health Care Act.

"It's an economic issue. It's an issue of trying to take care of people who do not have health insurance. It's an issue of helping small businesses," said Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff.

It was a unanimous vote, although one of the commissioners, Kevin Wolff, said he voted yes "very reluctantly."

During a morning press conference, Wolff was flanked by community leaders and officials with hospital systems like Baptist, Christus-Santa Rosa, Methodist and University.

"It is not often economics and morality and religion and health care come together," said Dominic Dominguez, with Methodist Heath Care System.

According to the resolution, the county would be able to cover some 200,000 currently uninsured residents.

More the $500 million would flow into the local economy over the next three years and taxpayers could save up to $53 million a year.

If Texas doesn't take the money, "our tax dollars will be sent to other states," said Sister Michele O'Brien, with Christus-Santa Rosa.

The county would have 100 percent of Medicaid expansion covered for three years before dropping to 90 percent the following years.

That is where Commissioner Kevin Wolff begins to have his doubts.

"We're in a lot of trouble (in Washington D.C.) and if those guys up there don't figure it out and fix it, it doesn't matter what we do today, tomorrow is going to be really, really, painful," he said.

When it comes to the money, Wolff said, "I do want those dollars coming back here to help us."

But he said he also agrees with Gov. Rick Perry that the money should arrive in the form of block grants, "or at least give individual states the freedom to implement these dollars in accordance with their population."

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