As Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) continues to attack the Affordable Care Act, his own health care record in Texas is coming under renewed scrutiny. The Houston Chronicle’s Patricia Kilday Hart and Gary Scharrer — who are writing a series of four reports “looking at the state of Texas infrastructure under the tenure of Gov. Rick Perry” — offer this handy guide:
1) With 26 percent of its citizens lacking health insurance, Texas ranks the worst in the nation for health care coverage.
2) Premiums are well above the national average ($14,526 for employer family coverage in Texas v. $13,871 nationally).
3) While Perry trumpets the state’s balanced budget, he fails to mention that lawmakers this year cut $805 million from doctors serving Medicaid patients, and that they also postponed $4 billion in Medicaid costs for payment in the next budget cycle.
4) Meanwhile, the demand for Medicaid is growing. Most of Texas’ new jobs are low income and have been accompanied by a soaring number of Texans who qualify for Medicaid – from 2.1 million in 2001 to 3.5 million today.
5) But the latest state budget included an 8 percent cut in reimbursement rates to hospitals, which came on top of a 2 percent cut in the last budget, in addition to a 23 percent cut to trauma care funding.
6) More than 5.2 million Texans already live in areas designated as official health professional shortage areas.
7) In fact, Texas ranks 48th out of 50 states in the number of physicians per 100,000 residents — that’s only going to get worse. In addition to cutting the loan repayment program, lawmakers this year reduced state support to graduate medical education by almost 40 percent, ensuring that many medical school graduates will leave Texas to other states for residency programs.