Thursday, July 19, 2012

"Perry is Right to Reject Ballooning Medicaid Costs" - Austin American Statesman Commentary

     Following up on my previous post about Rick Perry rejecting the expansion of Medicaid, I researched an commentary supporting Perry's decision so that I could learn more about what consequences will come from the decision. In his argument, President of Empower Texans and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility Michael Quinn Sullivan is targeting citizens unaware of governor Perry's recent decision. Sullivan appears rather conservative in nature, concerning his support for Perry. In his clearly marked first statement, he says "the Obamacare expansion of Medicaid being discussed isn't about more help for the poor, it is about expanding the program well past the poverty line and into the middle class".  Sullivan's main strategy seems to be targeting medicaid itself. First he makes note of Medicaid's doubled spending over the decades, then he questions the capability to expand it in the first place due to cost. One unsupported claim in the commentary is when Sullivan mentions Medicaid could consume 40 percent of the state's budget in 10 years. This seems slightly unreliable since there is no supporting fact or previously stated rate that would indicated such a cost. This almost seems more like a attention grabbing statement opposed to fact. Sullivan then makes an interesting gesture when he considers Medicaid's performance in the past. He hints that he may have supported the expansion if it had been successful in the first place. The commentary gains reliable ground citing The University of Virginia's study of uninsured vs. Medicaid death rates (a 13% difference). The most interesting report comes from the NBC affiliate WOAI. The station reported that Medicaid's recruitment rate is declining as doctors are realizing that the program only reimburses them up to just 60%. The assumptions made throughout the argument appear to criticize the integrity of Medicaid slightly more than any solid support for Perry's decision itself. When support is made, it is either at the beginning or end of the commentary, seemingly more of a rally for Perry's advocacy. In its conclusion, Sullivan makes an advocates state's rights in opposition of Washington D.C. Whether or not his Medicaid bashing aligns with national studies or Texas studies is unclear. Regardless, Sullivan makes a strong case against it, but not necessarily that Texas itself has a right to deny the nation's dictations. 

I'm still unsure about Perry's decision, but I am leaning more towards disagreement with his stance. Sullivan's commentary did little to sway my opinion concerning Texas' rejection of the expansion, yet he added doubts to the credibility of Medicaid as a whole.

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