Weatherford Democrat

Viewpoints

March 13, 2013

ESTES: The Medicaid mousetrap

By STATE SEN. CRAIG ESTES

My granddad often told me, “there’s always free cheese in a mousetrap.” Those words have never rung more true than with Medicaid expansion. I can’t help but think Texas is being lured by “free” federal dollars into expanding Medicaid. Mousetraps don’t work out well for mice, and Medicaid expansion won’t work out well for Texans.

First, Texas can’t afford Medicaid expansion. Since 2000, the cost of Medicaid has tripled and now costs the state of Texas $11 billion per year, or approximately one out of every four dollars state government spends today. Even without expansion, Medicaid is expected to continue its rapid growth. By 2023, Medicaid will consume 37 percent of the state budget, costing more than $30 billion annually. That’s more than Texas spent on state courts, public safety, natural resources, general government, business and economic development, and higher education combined during the 2012 fiscal year. If Medicaid growth is left unrestrained it will literally squeeze judges, police and professors out of the Texas budget. The cost of Medicaid is already out-of-control. It makes no sense to expand it.

Second, federal matching funds may be a “good deal” to government bureaucrats, but they aren’t a good deal to Texas taxpayers. It’s like “free” money to them, but to hard-working Texans those dollars are anything but free since Texas taxpayers fund the federal government. Most Texans realize these funds, federal or state, come out of their own pockets.

Third, the massive fraud that permeates Medicaid would only be made worse by expansion. In the last 10 years, the Texas Attorney General has identified more than $770 million in suspected Medicaid fraud. During the 2012 fiscal year alone, the attorney general’s office opened 418 Medicaid fraud and abuse cases.

Medicaid is not working. Fraud and spiraling costs are not hallmarks of a successful government program.

Medicaid is a fiscally unsustainable, fraud-ridden, broken, inefficient and ineffective one-size-fits-all approach to health care. Instead of focusing on expanding a failed program of the past, the path to a brighter future lies with creating good-paying jobs in Texas. Job creation, not Medicaid expansion, is the most meaningful path to affordable health care. Rarely is growing government the solution to Texas’ problems – health care is no different. Medicaid expansion is a bad deal for Texas and it should be rejected. Free cheese, I don’t think so!

Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, is a state senator representing District 30, which includes Parker County.

1
Text Only
Viewpoints
  • Hamilton, Lee.jpg HAMILTON: Government as innovator? You bet!

    Five years ago, the federal government spent $169 billion to fund basic research and development. This fiscal year, it’s down to $134 billion.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Showing respect

    My sister Robbie Benton’s funeral was Friday afternoon at White’s Funeral Home. The gravesite was outside of Mineral Wells. The respect shown by the good folks of Parker County and the surrounding area was overwhelming.

    April 17, 2014

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Going on a wild goose chase

    In recent years I’ve written quite a bit about the introduction and negative consequences of non-native or invasive species. Fire ants, killer bees, English sparrows, Asian carp, feral hogs and others too numerous to list have forever changed our local ecosystem.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: TV offers

    Have you seen those TV offers where they give a price for one product and then offer a second like items for-free? All you have to do is pay a separate shipping and handling charge for the “free” items.

    April 13, 2014

  • John Paul Carter-color.jpg NOTES FROM THE JOURNEY: What’s in a name?

    Names are important. When my son, Rush, (who’s named after my father) and his wife, Vanessa, were expecting their third daughter, I gave up on having a male namesake and suggested, in jest, they call her “Johnnie Pauline.”

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • tiscione, lou.jpg TISCIONE: The Christian and the government

    The church in the Old Testament lived under a theocracy. That is, both the church and state were one. God anointed kings. Civil laws and religious laws were one and the same.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Getting in the chicken business

    Anyone who is my age or older has heard the famous quote, “A chicken in every pot.” It is normally attributed to Herbert Hoover during his 1928 presidential bid.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIEWPOINT: Obsessed with sports

    I remember reading a synopsis of the five reasons for the “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” by Edward Gibbon in which he listed the Romans’ obsession with sports at the coliseum as a cause of the fall of the empire.

    April 6, 2014

  • 0912 one bday wm j kelly 2013 mug.jpg KELLY: What do you think?

    On March 21, this paper published an article about a six-month drug trafficking investigation involving 12 people. On the front page was a photo of the 12 people involved. The use of drugs had made them a sorry-looking bunch. The look in their eyes was particularly disturbing.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hamilton, Lee.jpg Time to fix government

    In 1965, the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, Wilbur Mills, brought legislation establishing Medicare and Medicaid to the floor of the U.S. House. That was my first year in Congress, and I remember vividly the moment when Mills came to the Democratic caucus to explain his plans.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners Obama Greets Wounded Warriors Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Franco Leads Star-studded Broadway Cast Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing