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State Representative Garnet F. Coleman: Policy and News Alerts
More Republicans Reconsidering Their Opposition To Medicaid Expansion

It turns out that opposing Medicaid Expansion might be easier said than done, as more Republicans are coming around to the idea that Expansion is the right thing to do.

The reason I have been a leader on this issue is because I am confident that we can develop a bipartisan solution that results in a Medicaid Expansion here in Texas. My optimism is based on the fact that everyone, no matter which side of the aisle they are on, wants to do what is in the best interests of the state. It is increasingly hard to justify sitting on the sidelines while other states, including very Republican ones, acknowledge the benefits and move forward with the program expansion.

First, refusing to participate in the Medicaid expansion is expensive. It won’t just cost the state money, it will cost the millions of Texans who are insured money as well, as providers find ways to offset the cost of providing uncompensated care. Our tax dollars are already being spent on the program; it doesn’t make sense to refuse to accept what we are already buying.

Further, refusing to participate in the expansion would deny benefits to U.S. citizens that will be available to legal immigrants. This is due to the fact that the ACA was drafted with the assumption that all states would expand their Medicaid programs and included a provision that allows legal immigrants to access federal subsidies to purchase private insurance, since they are not allowed to obtain Medicaid for their first five years of legal residency. Thus, if a state does not expand its Medicaid program, legal immigrants will have better access to care than low-income United States citizens.

Therefore, I am not surprised by Republican Governor Jan Brewer’s announcement last week that Arizona will indeed participate in the Medicaid Expansion as provided by the ACA. She correctly acknowledges that refusing to participate in the expansion, childless adult citizens who are under 100% of the federal poverty level would not have access to coverage; Arizona tax dollars would leave the state to pay for the implementation of states that do participate in the expansion; and Arizona businesses, taxpayers, and health providers would be directly responsible for the uninsured Arizonans who do get hurt and receive care.

I applaud Governor Brewer’s decision to do what is best for the state of Arizona. She refused to let partisan gamesmanship get in the way of doing what is right. I hope our Republican leadership in Texas can do the same.

Below are your regularly scheduled news clips:

 

National

New York Times
Ms. Brewer, who has become something of a conservative icon for her aggressive opposition to Mr. Obama’s policies, surprised many Legislature watchers at her State of the State address last week by saying she wanted to expand the state’s Medicaid program to include anyone who makes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, or $14,856 for an individual.

New York Times
Backing down from their hard-line stance, House Republicans said Friday that they would agree to lift the federal government’s statutory borrowing limit for three months, with a requirement that both chambers of Congress pass a budget in that time to clear the way for negotiations on long-term deficit reduction.

New York Times
The question that now looms over the Pentagon as it moves toward full gender integration is whether female service members like Sergeant Pearsall, for all their bravery under fire, can perform the same dangerous and physically demanding tasks day in and day out, for weeks at a time, as permanent members of ground combat units like the infantry or armored cavalry.

Washington Post
A working group of senators from both parties is nearing agreement on broad principles for overhauling the nation’s immigration laws, representing the most substantive bipartisan effort toward comprehensive legislation in years.

Washington Post
In the days following President Obama’s second inaugural address, Republicans have been sounding off about what they didn’t like.

Washington Post
The White House’s campaign to mobilize public support around its sweeping gun-control proposals began in earnest here Friday, with Vice President Biden saying, “We have an obligation to act — not wait.”

L.A. Times
Stepping up their austerity campaign, House Republicansplan to demand far deeper spending cuts from President Obama to balance the federal budget in just 10 years, an extraordinary goal that would hit Medicare and other safety-net programs.

L.A. Times
The Senate approved changes to the filibuster Thursday night, adopting modest limits on the partisan obstruction that has ground action in the chamber to a near standstill.

L.A. Times
Sen. John F. Kerry pledged Thursday that as secretary of State he would de-emphasize the military role "thrust upon us" by Sept. 11, saying "we cannot afford a diplomacy that is defined by troops or drones or confrontation."


Texas

Dallas Morning News
Nelson identified Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, as a key player in working toward a deal with federal officials. Coleman has said he supports a limited requirement for some Medicaid patients to pay part of their health care costs, adding that he believes a deal is possible. Health and Human Services Commissioner Kyle Janek has said his staff is working with federal authorities to see what's possible.

Texas Tribune
Democrats Carol Alvarado, a state representative from Houston and former City Council member, and Sylvia Garcia, a former Harris County commissioner who also served as Harris County controller, are considered the top two contenders in the strongly Democratic district, but a crowded field that also includes Bray and five other candidates could mean a winner will not be determined until late February or early March.

Texas Tribune
State Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, wants to ensure that others have similar positive experiences in the workplace, and he has filed HB 238, which would prohibit discrimination based on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” under the Texas Labor Code. It is the sixth consecutive legislative session in which he has filed legislation make such discrimination unlawful. The measure received four different hearings in past sessions, bouncing among several committees, but was left pending each time.

Houston Chronicle
With memories painfully fresh and nerves still raw after the Connecticut elementary school massacre, the nation suddenly turned its attention to a community college campus in suburban Houston on Tuesday afternoon, fearful that another violent incident was shredding any lingering notion of safety in the classroom.

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