The price Texas will pay by refusing to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act is a heavy one: $79 billion in federal funds over the next decade, most of which will go to the state's hospitals, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
That number was disclosed by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who has been making frequent visits to the Lone Star State in recent weeks to try and drum up political support for expanding Medicaid. In her most recent swing, Sebelius was joined by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Clay Jenkins, a local judge, according to the Dallas Morning News. Both support the Affordable Care Act, making them rare political exceptions in a state that has been staunchly against the ACA. Gov. Rick Perry has called the program an example of government intrusion.
"Just this year, $650 million of your money will be spent taking care of those that aren't insured," Jenkins told the Morning News.
Dallas County ranks fourth in the nation in uninsured residents, and Sebelius noted that six out of 10 people can expect to find coverage for less than $100 a month. But this does little for those who would rely on the Medicaid expansion for assistance.
Medicaid expansion would be fully paid for with federal funds during the first three years of implementation, with the federal government picking up 90 percent of the costs in the years after.
"I think we'll continue to see states who chose" not to expand Medicaid rethink that decision, Jenkins told the Star-Telegram.