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SENATOR NELSON LEADS HEARING ON 'AFFORDABLE CARE ACT'
AUSTIN — Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, today presided over a joint hearing of the Senate's Health and Human Services and State Affairs Committees on the impact of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Texas.
"I am very concerned about the serious problems this law will create for our economy, our budget, and our overburdened health care system, "said Senator Nelson, chair of the Health and Human Services Committee. "Our Medicaid costs continue to rise, diverting resources away from education and other priorities. We cannot consider a massive Medicaid expansion without also addressing the core problems that are making it financially unsustainable."
Texas joined a majority of states in challenging the ACA's constitutionality. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a key component of the law -- the individual mandate -- violated the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. However, the mandate was allowed to survive as a tax. The Court also ruled that the federal government could not withhold Medicaid funds from states that do not carry out the expansion of Medicaid required under the ACA.
The two committees heard testimony from the public, as well as from state insurance and health agencies. Prior to the next legislative session, the panel will file a report on the impact of the ACA on insurance regulations, Medicaid and CHIP, health care quality and workforce, and Texas' budget. Progress of this and other legislative committees can be tracked online at www.capitol.state.tx.us.
Medicaid, which makes up about 20% of the state's budget, provides health services to 3.5 million Texans and costs taxpayers almost $20 billion a year. The expansion of Medicaid required under the ACA would cost Texas $15 billion.
SENATOR JANE NELSON represents District 12, including portions of Tarrant and Denton Counties. She is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services.