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For Immediate Release

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March 26, 2012

Comptroller Combs Warns of Cost of Federal Health Care Reform to States

(AUSTIN) — Texas Comptroller Susan Combs today urged the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the enormous cost federal health care legislation will have on individual states. This week the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing challenges to different aspects of federal health care reform, including mandated health insurance and expanded Medicaid eligibility. 

Combs warned state lawmakers will have a hard time funding future state budgets if the Obama administration’s federal health care rules are implemented. Medicaid spending is currently about 20 percent of the state’s general revenue, and the federal health care mandates will accelerate the growth of Medicaid costs to about 37 percent of general revenue spending by 2023. 

“As the state’s chief financial officer, I am very concerned about the negative impact this burdensome federal regulation will place on Texas,” Combs said. “It will cost our state at least $18 billion dollars to cover increased Medicaid costs in the first 10 years after the law is implemented. Other priorities such as public education and infrastructure programs in Texas will surely suffer.”

State estimates project new federal health care requirements would contribute to a large jump in the number of people Texas would have to cover under the state’s Medicaid program. Texas Medicaid enrollment is projected to grow from 3.5 million people in 2011 to an estimated 6.2 million people by 2020. 

“It is my job as Comptroller to analyze federal regulations that can carry enormous costs to the state and affect our future. I will continue to monitor critical issues such as health care overhaul, and update Texas lawmakers and citizens on their impact.”   

More information on the impact to the state’s Medicaid program can be found at www.thetexaseconomy.org/healthcare/federal-leg/articles/article.php?name=medicaid_primer.

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