The double-sided city of Texarkana, its residents sometimes quip, has two of everything. There are the mayors: one for the 36,000 people living west of Highway 71 in Texas, another for the 30,000 on the Arkansas side of town. There are the high schools: Texas High and Arkansas High, bitter football rivals.
And then there are the approaches to helping poor people get medical care. In Arkansas, lawmakers voted in 2013 to expand the state’s Medicaid program, taking federal money to buy private insurance for low-income adults. Texas, by contrast, has steadfastly refused to expand its Medicaid program.
So in Texarkana, access to free health care can be determined by the side of the street on which someone lives.
Shortly after Arkansas launched its "private option" plan expanding coverage for the poor, advocates for the uninsured began pushing Texas lawmakers to follow the lead and devise a “Texas way” to expand coverage. But in its first year, the Arkansas plan is costing more than expected, and a growing chorus of Texas Republicans is saying "I told you so."