SAN ANTONIO — Recommendations coming from the recent Bexar County Healthcare Summit have merit. State leaders should pay attention if they are as serious as they should be about a healthier Texas.
Texas erred when it failed to expand Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act. Texans have been paying the price. Roughly 1 million who might have gotten coverage are still without.
We’d prefer that the state simply change its mind. The state’s obstinacy doesn’t even make economic sense. The federal government will pay all costs for Medicaid expansion for the first three years, capping the state’s costs to 10 percent after that.
But, since chances that the state Legislature will change its mind are slim, it’s wise to consider alternatives. Summit leaders pushed the “Texas Way,” a private, market-based insurance program to cover the state’s working poor. The plan deserves a look.
Other summit recommendations include asking the Legislature to:
Require a syphilis test during the third trimester of pregnancy. There has been an unacceptable number of babies in Bexar County born with congenital syphilis.
Given state obesity and diabetes rates, restrict the sale of sugary drinks in public schools.
Increase funding for the county’s mental health services and drug courts. It’s a smarter way to fight crime.
The Legislature should enact these and change its mind on Medicaid expansion or find another way to accomplish the same thing.