Nine Texas House Republicans have signed onto House Bill (HB) 3871, authored by Rep. Julie Johnson (D-Carrollton), that would expand the federal welfare program. That group consists of:
- Steve Allison (R-San Antonio)
- Ernest Bailes (R-Shepherd)
- Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches)
- Dan Huberty (R-Houston)
- Kyle Kacal (R-College Station)
- Stan Lambert (R-Abilene)
- Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio)
- John Raney (R-College Station)
- Phil Stephenson (R-Wharton)
Those Republicans bring the bill’s support to 76 representatives — just barely a majority in the 150-member chamber.
An expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare raises the qualification for the program’s coverage to incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. If expanded, that means any adult that makes less than $17,774.40 annually or a family of four that makes less than $36,570.00 is eligible for its coverage.
With expansion, the federal government increases its share of funding under the program. Supporters say that Texas is losing out on billions of dollars in federal funding without expanding the program.
But with a raised income threshold, and more recipients that fall within it means more money spent on the whole under the program. Some states that expanded Medicaid found themselves stuck with larger-than-projected costs due to unexpected enrollment levels.
Medicaid expansion has been rejected by the State of Texas since Obamacare’s inception. But thanks to the Biden administration’s Section 1115 action, the potential funding losses have given expansion’s supporters a wave of the all-important political phenomenon: momentum.
With the Texas House budget fight set for Thursday, multiple amendments have already been filed aimed at Medicaid expansion. It is likely House Democrats, along with their group of GOP allies, try and tack onto the budget Medicaid expansion.
But other House Republicans have indicated to The Texan their intention to fight tooth and nail that endeavor.
Medicaid expansion will likely be the feature event during Thursday’s budget debate — but this time with a factor it hasn’t had before: a slim majority of support.
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Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.