Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Legislature have rejected Medicaid expansion even though Texas has the highest rate of uninsured residents in the nation. With the spread of COVID-19 and the threat of health care systems being overwhelmed by this pandemic, the governor should call a special session of the Legislature to expand Medicaid.
Medicaid expansion has been an overwhelmingly successful program. It has increased insurance coverage, expanded access to health care services and reduced costs. Medicaid expansion would cost Texas approximately $5.6 billion, but in return, Texas would receive $65.6 billion in federal funding and save $34.3 billion from reduced emergency room or hospital visits from the uninsured. Medicaid expansion is necessary for diminishing the devastating impact that COVID-19 will have on Texas population health.