Many Texans may not realize how dramatically the new law expands the state's Medicaid program, which currently provides health care coverage for the very poor, as well as low-income children, aged and disabled persons. It mandates that every legal resident of Texas must purchase private health insurance or be enrolled in the Medicaid program, resulting in a projected increase of more than two million Texas Medicaid recipients.
Our State Health and Human Services Commission estimates the new mandates will cost the Texas state budget $27 billion over the 10-year period from 2014-2024, or an average of more than $5 billion for every two-year Texas budget cycle. That dramatic increase in health care costs will significantly limit legislative discretion in virtually every other area of state spending. Historically, the Texas Legislature has made education our top funding priority. Today, more than 60 percent of our state's general revenue goes to public and higher education. Health and human service spending is the second largest expenditure, at 30 percent, with all other costs a much smaller piece of the total pie. As the new federal law forces Texas to spend multiple billions more each biennium on health care, that will continually shrink our state's ability to spend discretionary dollars elsewhere, including our top priority of education.Get ready for increased property taxes, a state income tax and higher sales taxes.