As Obamacare turned four years old Sunday, two trends have grown increasingly apparent for the law’s boosters: Texas’ uninsured are not dashing for “Affordable Care” and the Texas economy is not imploding as a result. There remains cause for celebration, however, among those advocating for expanded utilization of the public transfer payment system known as Medicaid.
Medicaid enrollment has continued to increase in Texas since Obamacare became law. According to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), 3.65 million Texans were enrolled in the government-subsidized healthcare program in July 2013, up from 3.3 million in March 2010.
The number of non-citizens enrolled in Medicaid has also increased during the last four years. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) perinatal coverage provides healthcare for the unborn children of women who do not qualify for Medicaid–this includes pregnant, undocumented immigrants. The child will subsequently receive benefits for 12 months after being born. As of October 2013, there were 33,606 non-U.S. citizens receiving healthcare in Texas through CHIP, subsidized by U.S. taxpayers. That figure is up from 32,085 in November 2012, according to records obtained by Breitbart Texas.
Despite Obamacare’s introduction four years ago, Texas has maintained a relatively low unemployment rate. As Breitbart Texas previously reported, the state’s unemployment rate is currently about 5.7 percent. The Lone Star State’s percent of jobless inhabitants has been below the national average, which has hovered around 6.7 percent for 85 months in a row.
Numerous states that chose to implement their own exchange are home to high unemployment rates. A whopping 868,936 California citizens enrolled in Obamacare using the state’s exchange. There, the unemployment rate is 8.7 percent. In New York, where the unemployment rate is 7.7 percent, 244,618 people enrolled in Obamacare using the state exchange.
Texas Governor Rick Perry chose not to implement a state health exchange in order to foster an environment of limited government where businesses may flourish and create jobs. “If anyone was in doubt, we in Texas have no intention to implement so-called state exchanges or to expand Medicaid under Obamacare,” Perry said in July 2012 according to the Huffington Post. “I will not be party to socializing healthcare and bankrupting my state in direct contradiction to our Constitution and our founding principles of limited government.”
The Obama Administration had hopes for Obamacare enrollment numbers in Texas; those expectations have not been met. As of March 1, 295,000 Texas residents selected coverage on the Marketplace, up from 207,500 on February 1. The actual number of enrolled Texans is likely to be significantly lower than the released figures state. Obama’s HHS can only count the number of individuals selecting plans on the online marketplace–not those actually paying for them.
The new federal data also highlights the lack of younger people signing up on the Marketplace. HHS officials previously insisted that the enrollment numbers for young adults would increase, but that prediction never materialized. Texans aged 55 to 64 currently make up the largest group of enrollees, at 26 percent. If young, healthy individuals fail to sign up for Obamacare, premiums could go up and care quality could go down for those who are enrolled.
In December Governor Perry was quoted in the Dallas Morning News saying, “People all across the country have witnessed what a disaster this program has been from its earliest stages, ranging from the $600 million website debacle to the sad fact that President Barack Obama flat-out deceived the American people when he promised that those who like their coverage could keep it. To stem the bleeding, the administration is resorting to arbitrary delays for some Obamacare mandates, which only inject more confusion into the marketplace and with consumers.”
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate