Texans will continue to have to pay for their medical care
The main way Obamacare was supposed to save money and cut health care costs was by cutting down on the uninsured, so they don't rush to emergency rooms when they receive serious illnesses. Emergency room care is far more expensive than simply being treated in a doctor's office.
But many of the coasts that Texas taxpayers have to pay for emergency room care will not go away, because political pressure prevented lawmakers from extending the mandatory health insurance provisions of Obamacare to illegal immigrants, 1200 WOAI news reports.
"Having a big chunk of the population like the undocumented who stay outside the system, definitely works against the goals of the Affordable Care Act," said Anne Dunkelberg of the Center for Policy Priorities, an Austin based liberal think tank. "That is preventing us from getting to the place where we should be in our health care system."
An estimated one million illegal immigrants live in Texas, and estimates are that Texas taxpayers pay $800 million annually for medical care for the undocumented, largely in local taxes paid to public hospitals who are required by law to treat all patients, whether they can pay for treatment or not.
"It's politically tortured territory to start talking about paying for access to take care of our undocumented folks," Dunkelberg said.
Arlene Wogelmuth, who is the director of the Center for Health Care Policy at the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation agrees, and adds that that shows how President Obama's health care and immigration proposals won't work.
"What we need is a better immigration policy, and we need to have health care reform that will actually lower the costs for everyone, and this bill is not it," she said.
During the debate in Congress over health care reform, the status of illegal immigrants within the program was one of the biggest stumbling blocks, with both sides saying they wanted to make sure that illegals did not in any way qualify for 'free' medical care under the proposal.