Texas Plans to Use Medicaid Expansion it Rejected to Pay For Women's Health Program

In early June, Governor Rick Perry was quick to announce that no state of his would be taking any of that tyrannical federal money to expand Medicaid coverage. Yet court documents filed by outgoing Health and Human Services Commissioner Tom Suehs claim that the state's new, Planned Parenthood-free Women's Health Program will be easily paid for. By relying, mainly, on Medicaid expansion money. Whoops.

As Christy Hoppe over at the Morning News points outs, lawyers for the state have made rather misleading claims about how the program will be paid for. In several legal briefings before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, they manage to indicate that the program will only cost Texans serious money next year, with costs dipping dramatically (for us, anyway) in 2014.

In a brief filed for July 3, Texas' attorneys say that the state's Deputy Executive Commissioner for Financial Services, Greta Rymal, has projected the fiscal impact of the new Women's Health Program for the next three years. That projection assumes "that all clients will be eligible for Medicaid following the expansion of the Medicaid program in January 2014."

Under that rosy scenario, the new WHP will cost Texans $39,132,223 in fiscal year 2013. But in 2014, Rymal estimates that the costs would drop by more than half, to $15,861,313, with the gap filled in by that new Medicaid money.

"In addition," it continues, "maintaining a state-funded Women's Health Program would generate cost avoidance in the Medicaid program, resulting in a net projected savings of $4.4 million general revenue over the 14 months the program would operate."

But no one has apparently run any of this by Rick Perry. In a letter to federal Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in July, he had a message for her to pass on to President Obama: "I oppose both the expansion of Medicaid as provided in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the creation of a so-called 'state' insurance exchange, because both represent brazen intrusions into the sovereignty of our state."

And if there's anybody who knows a thing or two about brazen intrusions, it's Governor Perry.