Study Says Texans Will Pay About $10 Billion For Other States To Expand Medicaid

Dec 6, 2013

Texas Matters: While Gov. Rick Perry has continued his hard line on Medicaid expansion under the ACA, a new study finds that Texas taxpayers will end up paying billions for the other states that do. Never fear, it is now totally fine to say "Merry Christmas" in Texas public schools. Also on this show: Amy Tan talks about the inspiration behind her new book, "The Valley of Amazement."

Texas paying for other state's Medicaid expansion

Texas is the state with the most uninsured and the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act would have provided health care to about 2 million over 1 million people in the state.

A report out this week explains how much that opt-out decision is costing the state.

The report is by The Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation working towards a high performance health system.

The report, titled "How States Stand to Gain or Lose Federal Funds by Opting In or Out of the Medicaid Expansion," is co-author by Sherry Glied, a former Obama administration health planning official who is dean of NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

"The second thing we did was looked at how the money that came into states with the Medicaid expansion would compare to what they would have to pay out in taxes to all the other states expanding if they chose not to participate. That's where we find that Texas taxpayers pay a lot of money for the Medicaid expansion happening in other states."

How much are we talking?

"Somewhere around $10 billion. That $9.6 billion is money that Texas taxpayers will pay towards Medicaid expansion happening in all states other than Texas if Texas chooses not to expand."

Don't be afraid to say "Merry Christmas" in Texas schools

The Hilton Palacio del Rio is lit up for the holidays, and Texas school districts no longer need to worry about policing expressions of holiday cheer.
Credit Hilton Palacio del Rio

On June 13, Gov. Rick Perry signed into law the Texas "Merry Christmas" bill. The law makes it now fully legal -- though it was never really illegal in the first place -- to say "Merry Christmas" in schools and other public spaces in Texas.

On Monday morning, Dec. 9, there will be a celebration at the state capitol for the new "Merry Christmas" law.

The law -- House Bill 308 -- was supported by the group Texas Values, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and advancing a culture of family values in the state. Jonathan Saenz is the president of Texas Values.

"What this law does is eliminates the confusion that school districts think they have when they're dealing with issues this time of year. It tells them they don't have to ban people from saying "merry Christmas," they don't have to ban red and green, they don't have to ban students from bringing scenes or symbols to school that reference Christmas like we've seen in other cases throughout the state of Texas in Plano and Katy there have been issues like this. So that's unfortunate, students have the right to do this and school districts don't have to feel like they have got to be the one policing these ideas."

Frisco ISD under fire for violating the new "Merry Christmas" law:

Frisco ISD officials were unable to go on the air to explain or defend themselves from the allegations that they were putting the cap on holiday greetings and decorations (listen to full show to learn more), but they did send a written statement.

They said this is an unfortunate misunderstanding that began with an email sent by a room mom and it has been "unfairly portrayed Frisco ISD as having violated the 'Merry Christmas' law."

The school district says the allegations are simply incorrect and the email that set the whole thing off was not an official PTA email, nor was the school aware of it being sent.

Frisco ISD maintains that there has never been a ban on what is worn, what is said, or what is brought to the Christmas party. The new Texas "Merry Christmas" law is consistent with the manner in which holiday parties have been handled by the district in the past.

An unexpected discovery guides Amy Tan's latest book

"The Valley of Amazement" is the latest offering from Amy Tan. The award-winning author of "The Joy Luck Club" and other acclaimed books takes us this time to the unconventional worlds of two women.

One woman is an American, who leaves her home in San Francisco to follow a Chinese man she loves to Shanghai. The other is her daughter, who, through a series of dramatic circumstances, becomes a courtesan.

Amy Tan spoke with Yvette Benavides and tells her how the idea for the book came about.

"I had an interruption based on a discovery of a photo in a book and it was a photo entitled "The 10 Beauties of Shanghai." And five of these women in 1910 were wearing an outfit identical to what my grandmother was wearing in my favorite photo of her, and they were courtesans. And I just paused and said, 'What does this mean?'"